updated 02:10 pm EST, Mon January 12, 2009
Win 7 May Ship in July
The timing of Microsoft's Windows 7 beta and its expiry dates provides a clue as to the actual ship date of the final product, according to info gathered by Microsoft observer Ed Bott. The software officially expires on August 1st but does so just a month after the believed July 1st start of a Windows 7 upgrade program for new PCs, effectively marking off July as the release month. Anonymous sources of Bott's have also suggested a similar launch window.
The company has provided both historical and recent signs that it may accelerate the release towards mid-summer. The launch of Vista's upgrade program was held just two weeks before the operating system was released to manufacturing in late October of 2007, while Microsoft has also mentioned an unusually short testing cycle for Windows 7 that includes just a single instance each of the beta and release candidate versus the company's much longer traditional cycle.
Previous public releases of Windows test versions, such as for XP, have also deliberately introduced overlap to ensure that either a later test version or the finished product is available ahead of time.
A release in or near July would validate beliefs that Microsoft is pursuing an accelerated release cycle helped both by the relative stability of 7's Vista foundation as well as user resistance to Vista that has prompted some PC makers to keep XP on sale well past its official expiry date.