Will the real Windows 7 availability date please stand up! While officially, when Microsoft is in PR mode, the company is pointing to 2010 for the delivery of its next iteration of Windows, additional indications, slip-ups and leaks point to the end of 2009 for the release deadline of Windows 7. With Microsoft completely mum on the successor of Windows Vista, the speculation bonanza is being fed only crumbs from the Windows 7 feast. And the latest anodyne detail made public comes from none other than Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who pointed out that Windows 7 is right on track for availability next year, in 2009.
"Sometime in the next year or so we will have a new version [of Windows 7]," Gates revealed in a statement before the Inter-American Development Bank, according to Beyond Binary. "I'm super-enthused about what it will do in lots of ways." By focusing on 2009, Gates managed to diverge from the official timetable for Windows 7.
In mid-March, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Softpedia that "we are currently in the planning stages for Windows 7 and development is scoped to three years from Windows Vista Consumer GA [general availability, or January 31, 2007]. The specific release date will be determined once the company meets its quality bar for release."
With Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, in charge of the Windows 7 project, Microsoft has made little to no details public about the next major version of Windows. Official confirmation offered was focused on promising both 32-bit and 64-bit variants as well as revealing a pet-project designed to modularize and isolate a low-footprint part of the platform, namely the core, as a standalone product dubbed MinWin.
Microsoft has so far offered Windows 7 Milestone 1 to its close partners and the antitrust regulators for review. Windows 7 M2 is expected in the April-May 2008 timeframe, and Mary Jo Foley says she heard talk about Milestone 3.
Gates' words could very well point to the general availability of Windows 7 ahead of the holiday season in 2009, a move which will not repeat the pains of Windows Vista's delivery at the start of 2007. But at the same time, 2009 could be synonymous with the release of the first Beta version of Windows 7. This even if there are indications that Windows 7 Beta 1 could drop as early as October 2008, more specifically October 27-30, 2008, at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC), in Los Angeles.