Microsoft has finally acknowledged what outside observers have realized for some time: Windows 7 is going to be ready this year, in time for the holiday shopping season. That's the official message from the opening of Tech-Ed 2009 in Los Angeles today:
Microsoft Tech*Ed North America 2009 kicked off today with announcements of new technologies that enable IT professionals and developers to help their organizations save money and improve efficiencies during difficult economic times. As part of today's news, Microsoft Corp. announced that the company is anticipating that the next version of its client operating system, Windows 7, will be available to customers in time for the holiday shopping season. In addition, Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate (RC) is available today with the final product releasing to market in the same timeframe as Windows 7.
If you've been awaiting the release of the Windows Server 2008 R2 Release Candidate, it's now available for download here.
And one other tidbit: All Tech-Ed attendees will automatically get an invitation to participate in the Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview program, which will begin in July 2009.
Update: In a post on the Engineering Windows 7 blog, Windows honchos Steven Sinofsky and Jon DeVaan add some more clues to the timeline:
Between now and the RTM milestone we will make changes to the code in response the above inputs. We are decelerating and will do so “gracefully” and not abruptly. We do not have a “deadline” we are aiming to meet and the quality (in all dimensions) of the product and a smooth finish are the most important criteria for Windows 7. In addition, we have a lot of work going on behind the scenes to build Windows 7 in nearly 100 languages around the world and to make sure all the supporting materials such as our Windows web site, SDK, resource kits, and so on are ready and available in a timely manner.
If the feedback and telemetry on Windows 7 match our expectations then we will enter the final phases of the RTM process in about 3 months. If we are successful in that, then we tracking to our shared goal of having PCs with Windows 7 available this Holiday season.
Three months from today is mid-August. Add another month or two to allow overseas OEMs to build products and ship them to the U.S., Western Europe, and other industrialized markets. That pencils out to a General Availability (GA) date in late September or early October.
Now go back almost exactly one year, to a May 16, 2008 post on this blog:
Windows 7 ship date? The crowd has spoken...
If you believe in the theory of crowdsourcing, this community should be able to predict the actual release date more accurately than any individual. So what’s the consensus? I entered the dates into an Excel worksheet and calculated the median, which works out to (drumroll, please…)
September 30, 2009
Damn, you people are good.