RealTime IT News

Windows 7 Books a Reservation at Sheraton

Windows 7
Windows 7 coming to Sheraton Hotels.
Source: Microsoft

Windows 7 isn't commercially available yet, but Microsoft is already recruiting highly-visible early adopters to put the pre-release code into production and show it off.

That was the case Tuesday, when Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Sheraton Hotels & Resorts announced that the hotel chain will deploy Windows 7 this summer in special social areas of some of its hotels.

The computers running Windows 7 can be used by customers to check e-mail and look up locations nearby, or surf the Web, for instance. Sheraton said as part of the ongoing Link@Sheraton program supported by Microsoft, it will position the Windows 7 machines in lobbies, away from other common areas in the hotels.

"We wanted to create a destination where all of our guests could come to socialize, be entertained, people watch, or be alone but not lonely," Hoyt Harper, senior vice president of brand management for Sheraton, said in a statement.

Sheraton gets cachet for making it possible for travelers to try out Windows 7 without interrupting their work routines.

Microsoft gets the ability to expose the traveling public to Windows 7 in a hands on situation. So both parties win -- assuming early reports of the software's reliability stay true.

"What's great about this arrangement is that our customers will be able to experience Windows 7, get a feel for some of the new features, and experiment with some of the applications we've developed in cooperation with Microsoft specifically for Link@Sheraton – all while being connected with the latest technologies," Mark McBeth vice president of IT for Starwood Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HOT), Sheraton's parent company, said in a Q&A on Microsoft's Windows Team blog.

Windows 7 deployment

In addition, Sheraton's IT staff also gains practical knowledge of using, developing for, administering, and supporting Windows 7 in preparation for a companywide deployment slated to begin later this year.

"We support 480 hotels across North America and the deployment at the Link@Sheraton locations is serving as our testing grounds for a broader deployment across our national infrastructure," McBeth added. The chain also has hotels in 71 countries.

Link@Sheraton itself is not new. The two companies launched it last year -- but, obviously, not with Windows 7.

Sheraton is also one of Microsoft's launch partners for the multi-touch Surface computer.

The two companies did not say when this summer the Windows 7 machines will be installed in hotels. Windows 7 is scheduled for its commercial launch on October 22. Windows 7 is expected to reach "Release to Manufacturing" or RTF by mid to late-July.