Windows 7 - the End of 2009

As much as Microsoft is trying to make the availability date for the next iteration of the Windows client ambiguous, officially pointing to a development process scoped for 2010, Windows 7 is actually dropping at the end of 2009, were we to believe Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer. In the past, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates also indicated that Windows 7 would be released in 2009. The only Microsoft top executive still on translucent barricades at this point in time and holding onto 2010 with both hands is Steven "Don't Call Me Transparent" Sinofsky, the Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group.

Here is the official position from Microsoft, a refrain that the company has played to perfection through its PR mouthpieces: "we are well into the development process of Windows 7, and we're happy to report that we're still on track to ship approximately three years after the general availability of Windows Vista. As always, we will be releasing early builds of Windows 7 prior to its general availability as a means to gain feedback, but we're not yet ready to discuss timing and specific plans for any Beta releases. In the meantime, customers can confidently continue with their Windows Vista deployment plans", revealed Christopher Flores, Director Windows Communications.

But an early 2010 date, even January, just doesn't make sense for the launch of a consumer product. Windows Vista missed the 2006 holiday season by hitting the shelves on January 30, 2007. And the move hurt not only Windows revenues but also PC sales. As of yet Microsoft's strategy for Windows 7 is to not repeat the same mistakes it has done with Vista and to deliver an evolution on the foundation provided by the current Windows client. Shipping in early 2010 would be repeating a Vista mistake.

In this context, one mistake that Microsoft is not repeating, because it simply can't afford to, is overpromise and underdeliver, as it did with Vista. This is why Sinofsky gagged all details on the Windows 7 project. And when the company did start talking it did not touch subjects such as Betas, features or delivery deadlines at all. What it did was focus on what the operating system will actually bring to the table, namely the natural user interface demonstrated at the D6 - All Things Digital, the same place where Ballmer revealed that Windows 7 would hit the shelves by the end of 2009.



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