updated 10:55 am EDT, Fri July 3, 2009
Windows 7 RTM on July 13th
Multiple leaks today indicate that Microsoft is set to declare Windows 7 complete in just 10 days. The software developer is now expected to produce a Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build of the operating system on July 13th and is likely timing the news for its Worldwide Partner Conference the same day in New Orleans, which would let it hand companies a finished copy. The RTM version will be what ships to PC builders and retail when the software ships on October 22nd.
Such leaks virtually confirm earlier rumors of a planned July completion deadline and reflect a hastened production schedule for Windows 7. Until a May confirmation, Microsoft had repeatedly insisted that its only timetable was near the third anniversary of Windows Vista's launch, putting Windows 7 in early 2010. It's commonly accepted that a hostile public perception of Vista, especially among businesses hurt by Vista's compatibility problems, pushed Microsoft to scale Windows 7's features and testing to avoid losing valuable holiday sales. Mac OS X Snow Leopard's September release also creates its own pressure.
The RTM build won't be available as a public release, though Microsoft has previously hoped to mollify those anxious about Windows 7 by extending the release candidate's fully functional lifespan through to March and at least two-hour limited use to June 2010.