Friday, May 01, 2009

Windows 7 Release Candidate Goes Live

windows seven logoThursday afternoon Microsoft confirmed the release of the Windows 7 Release Candidate for download to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. The public can expect broader public availability beginning May 5 on the Microsoft Windows 7 site. The RC milestone, which had already been leaked to torrents late last week is the culmination of feedback from millions of customers and partners around the world.

According to Microsoft Windows 7 has gained strong industry support, something that showed itself in the crashing of Windows servers on Thursday when the download went live.

According to an independent report from Forrester Research Inc.’s Ben Gray: “The beta of Windows 7 shows significant promise, and most IT operations professionals are looking forward to its availability and eventual enterprise deployment ... start preparing for it now, and the best way to prepare for Windows 7 is by deploying Windows Vista. Short of that, begin testing your applications and hardware for compatibility against Windows Vista; it will pay off with greater compatibility with Windows 7.” (“Get Ready for Windows 7,” Forrester Research, April 2009.)

Microsoft has said user will not need to rush to get the release candidate and has urged users to hold of until downloading subsides. According to the MS Windows 7 RC release page the RC release will be available at least through June 2009, and like the beta they will not be limiting the number of product keys, so you have plenty of time.

MS is also giving user 13-months to try out the new OS giving the RC build a relatively long life span which is substantially longer than the time limit Microsoft put on Vista's release candidates.

Shortly after the announcement of the release candidate came there were several reports springing up that we might see the public release of the full operating system as soon as October. The reports initially were posted at Pocket Lint and cite a U.K.-based Acer representative as saying Windows 7 will ship with the company's upcoming Z5600 all-in-one PC starting on October 23. The Z5600 will actually become available in late September, the spokesperson is quoted as saying. Customers who purchase it during that first month will be offered a free Windows 7 upgrade after the release, he says.

Personally I think MS would be shooting for a slightly sooner release, August or September would be my guess. I think they'd want to get the new OS out and on shelves in time for the back to school shopping season. However reports have indicated they might be launching an upgrade coupon program similar to that of the XP to Vista program we saw a few years ago.

If that's the case, and it sounds like it might be, then MS would likely implement the upgrade program early enough to lure in back to school shoppers. TechARP believes they would be offering free upgrades to OEM products bought after July 1st.

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