RealTime IT News

Microsoft: Windows 7 in Time for the Holidays

Windows 7
It's official -- Microsoft will ship Windows 7 in time for the holiday sales season.

That was the main announcement made by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) officials at the opening keynote of the company's main developer event -- TechEd 2009 in Los Angeles.

"We're doing so well with the RC ["Release Candidate"] that we've started logo testing," Bill Veghte, senior vice president of Windows, told attendees at the conference. Microsoft began public testing of the RC, which is the final testing phase for Windows 7, last week.

"We got over a million downloads of the RC so I'm pleased to announced that we're going for [General Availability in time for] the holidays, and we're tracking very well," Veghte said.

Logo testing is the process whereby hardware and software developers run their products through a suite of tests to qualify for a Windows 7 ogo on their products, indicating its compatibility with the new operating system.

Indeed, Veghte said, 10,000 companies are currently working on products for Windows 7. "You usually would see this at 'General Availability'" of the system, he added.

The announcement reaffirms what Microsoft OEM partner Acer pre-announced earlier this month, when the PC maker said Windows 7 will be available on its PCs beginning on Oct. 23.

Microsoft officials still have not confirmed the October date, however.

InternetNews.com first reported in September that Microsoft was targeting early June for Windows 7's "Release to Manufacturing" (RTM), the final stage before a new Microsoft product hits store shelves or GA. Microsoft has never commented on when RTM might occur.

However, an RTM date as late as the end of July still should mean that Windows 7 could reach General Availability, or GA, by the end of October, several analysts have said in recent weeks.

Despite the focus on Windows 7, though, TechEd sessions and announcements are not limited to the operating system client.

For instance, attendees will be able to join an invitation-only Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview beginning in July. Office 2010 is currently slated to ship in the first half of 2010.

Additionally, Microsoft announced it will release in the second half of this year a Community Technology Preview of SQL Server 2008 "Release 2" (R2). SQL Server 2008 R2 will include new features such as multi-server management and Master Data Services.

Finally, the upcoming update for Windows 7's bigger sibling, Windows Server 2008 R2, began RC testing on Monday. GA for the server is planned for "the same timeframe as Windows 7," according to a company statement.

Users interested in testing Windows Server 2008 R2 RC can download it here.