updated 12:30 pm EDT, Mon March 16, 2009
Win 7 RC Moved to May
Microsoft may have instituted one of its first few delays in releasing Windows 7, a translated version of a Russian leak shows. Although internal Microsoft sources had pointed to an April 10th date for the lone release candidate version of the new OS, the software is now reportedly slated for internal completion as an "escrow" build by the very end of April and wouldn't be publicly available until the end of May. The version is expected to be the last major test version before Windows 7 is completed.
The same tip also hints that the operating system may not be finished until August, when the final Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build is said due for developers. An actual public version of the final release should appear sometime after this period.
Any significant delay in the RC edition potentially casts doubts on Microsoft's anticipated launch plans. Compal has previously hinted that the official schedule has Windows 7 shipping in late September, but a large enough gap may push this later into the fall. One component of the latest rumor would have Microsoft show Windows 7 at the IT Forum show in November, which is consistent with a minimum two-week gap.
Microsoft has only ever publicly claimed that it would ship Windows 7 around three years after Vista's launch, putting it in early 2010, but has done little to conceal evidence it wants to release the faster and simplified software in time for the holiday sales rush. A negative perception of Vista and the desire to prevent Apple's Mac OS X Snow Leopard from launching well in advance are also believed to be driving the schedule.
One extra leak also alludes to Office 14 shipping in March 2010.