Windows 7 To Ship Oct. 22
Windows Vista's term as Microsoft's consumer operating system will end this fall: The company announced yesterday that Vista's replacement, Windows 7, will arrive in stores and on new computers on Oct. 22, 996 days after Vista's retail debut.
That's a little earlier than I had expected when the Redmond, Wash., firm announced last month that it planned to ship 7 "in time for the holiday shopping season," but it's only a day off from the Oct. 23 ship date that some tech-news sites had forecast. Microsoft also said it expects to release the finished Windows 7 code to PC manufacturers in the second half of July, which should give them a solid three months to iron out any hardware-compatibility glitches. (Then again, PC makers had almost that long between Vista's Nov. 8, 2006 "release to manufacturing" and its Jan. 30, 2007 retail debut, and look how well that turned out.)
Microsoft says Windows 7 will bring a more flexible user interface that offers more ways to arrange files and navigate around open windows, fewer interruptions, a less intrusive User Account Control security system, upgraded media-sharing features and other performance and reliability improvements. For a quick overview of those changes, see my assessment of the public preview release of 7 that Microsoft offered earlier this year.
Yesterday's news, however, leaves 7's pricing up in the air. The most concrete hint Microsoft offered came in a post on its Windows 7 Team Blog, which noted that at some point in the coming weeks, buyers of new PCs will become eligible for a discounted upgrade:
Soon, customers will be able to take advantage of the Windows 7 Upgrade Option Program. This program enables participating retailers and OEMs to offer a special deal to upgrade to Windows 7 for customers purchasing a qualifying PC. I'll be doing another blog post about this program with a date and more details when we get closer to availability.
("OEM" stands for "original equipment manufacturer," which is a longwinded way of saying "PC vendor.")
Since 7's price remains a mystery, you might as well suggest what you'd like it to be. What would you consider a fair upgrade price if, say, you've run Vista for the last year? What if you buy a new computer a month from now? What if you'd be jumping from XP straight to 7? Post your thoughts in the comments....
June 3, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
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