Microsoft preps Windows 7 for Christmas

Chicago (IL) – Microsoft has confirmed the October 22 launch date of Windows 7. This time, the company aims to roll the software out to make the 2009 Christmas season, without tricks such as the questionable Express Upgrade program that pushed consumers into buying a Windows XP PC with a free or fee-based Windows Vista upgrade back in late 2006.
If we didn’t know that Microsoft was always planning on releasing Windows 7 in the third or fourth quarter of 2009 – while the public was repeatedly told that January 2010 was the target – we could agree with the general excitement that Windows 7 will arrive ahead of schedule: Microsoft today confirmed that a full retail rollout is planned for October 22 of this year, just in time to enable system builders to make the Christmas season.

But even we pessimists have to admit that Windows 7 showed an impressive pace (we are avoiding the word “rushed”) here, beginning with the Milestone 1 (M1) release in January 2008. However, we all know, how desperately Microsoft needs to get Windows Vista off retail shelves to save the (client) Windows brand: M1 shipped to key partners of Microsoft just one year after Windows Vista retail availability, and will have matured to retail quality within 21 months.

Windows 7 is not much different from Windows Vista in its key appearance, but comes with a number of improvements that make Windows 7 the operating system Vista should have been. And still, the strange naming of the new operating system (Windows 7 is not the seventh-generation client Windows, but rather, depending on your definition, the 10th-13th generation) indicates the Windows 7 may have a short future: Microsoft abandoned version numbers for Windows with the arrival of Windows 95 more than 14 years ago. Industry sources are pointing to the company’s “Singularity” project as sign how a future Windows, built from scratch, may look like.

Despite the fact that Windows Vista feels like it had a short life of only 33 months when it will be replaced, Microsoft in fact had short product cycles before Windows XP and, at least in that view, the rapid release is nothing special. While XP was the current operating system for 63 months, Me succeeded 98 after 27 months, 98 followed 95 with a 34 month distance, 95 replaced 3.1x after 41 months of availability and 3.1x kicked 3.0 after 22 months to the curb.

Just in case you can’t wait for Windows 7, you can always download the (time-bombed) release candidate, which is still available.