Publicly, Microsoft has said Windows 7, the successor operating system to the firm's much maligned Windows Vista, will not ship until early 2010, but its internal calendar has June 3, 2009 as the planned release date, InternetNews.com has learned.
Also, Microsoft will use its Professional Developer's Conference in late October as the launch platform for the first public beta of Windows 7. Microsoft plans to release the first beta on October 27, the first day of the show, when Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie will be the keynote speaker.
Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has two major developer shows planned for the Los Angeles area in a two week period: PDC on October 27 to October 30, and the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC). While PDC has listed its keynote speakers, Microsoft has not listed who will be the keynote speakers at WinHEC.
One hardware vendor, who asked not to be identified, told InternetNews.com the internal builds are already available for testing and certification of hardware. However, these betas are only available to partners for hardware and software certification, not open to all developers. Microsoft has what are called Milestone builds and is believed to be on its third major build, called M3, before releasing the beta.
When asked for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson told InternetNews.com that the company is in the planning stages for Windows 7 and "development is scoped to three years from Windows Vista consumer general availability." Beyond that, the company said it was not sharing additional information at this time.
Microsoft has previously said that Windows 7 would ship in early 2010, and given Vista's January 2007 ship date, that date matches the above Microsoft statement. Its beta cycles are usually about a year in length, so a June ship date would be cutting it close. Then again, it has had a long time to work on it - Vista released to manufacturing in late 2006 - and it's not changing much.
"I know they've been working on it feverishly, and the codebase is not all that far from Vista, so it's not a complete development project like they had to undertake between Windows XP and Vista," said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies.
Directions on Microsoft analyst Mike Cherry saw two sides to a PDC release and made an equally strong argument for both. "That would be the sort of event where they would want to give it to that audience," he told InternetNews.com. "That is going to be a large collection of your independent software vendors and developers from your large enterprise customers who write in-house apps and you're going to have some of the OEMs and hardware people there as well."
On the other hand, he is bothered by the trend on Web sites to review beta code, including evaluating performance, when no one should look at the performance of beta code.
"They may be a little bit concerned about how people have started to write reviews on beta code," said Cherry. "They may be weighing the concern that giving developers too early of a release could result in reviews with negative information based on an early look at the product and Windows 7 needs no bad news."