updated 12:40 pm EST, Mon November 3, 2008
Win 7 and Win Mo 7 Bundle
Microsoft is allegedly planning to launch Windows 7 in the fall with a mobile bundle to drive sales, a rumor from the Register notes. Cellular retailer Carphone Warehouse is reportedly in the early stages of a deal for September or October next year that would give users both a copy of Windows 7 upon its launch as well as a free smartphone using Windows Mobile 7, which is also anticipated during the same year.
Most of the details are still unknown, including the exact choices of phone or how far-reaching the deal would go. However, Carphone Warehouse has said it plans to open general electronics stores across Europe and so may offer the deal through those stores primarily rather than its mostly cellular-focused stores in the UK.
Also unclear is whether the deal would be prompted by Microsoft or by Carphone Warehouse, though the former is heavily stressing the addition of its Device Stage feature to Windows 7 that should help improve its integration with smartphones, a historic weak point of Vista and earlier Windows platforms.
A September to October timeframe supports past claims that Microsoft may be on an accelerated schedule for Windows 7 that would have the operating system reach stores in late 2009 rather than the commonly-assumed early 2010 objective. While it's not known whether the schedule if true is a change from any earlier plans, the company is under strong pressure both to recover Vista sales as businesses and some users hold off for Windows 7 as well as to avoid repeating mistakes made by missing holiday 2006 sales. The delay to January 2007 forced Microsoft to launch a program that gave customers a free upgrade to Windows Vista after buying many Windows XP systems.