Windows 7 has been released to manufacturing, according to a report by Mary Jo Foley on her blog that’s been confirmed by a Microsoft post. Windows 7 is due for commercial availability on October 22nd, which means that PC manufacturers have three months to test the final version of the OS, manufacture the first Windows 7 systems, and get them onto store shelves.
News about the release was synchronized with CEO Steve Ballmer’s keynote address at a Microsoft sales conference, according to the report. For those are you who are keeping track, the build number is 7600.16385, and it was compiled last Monday, July 13. In other words: Microsoft has delivered Windows 7 on schedule.
Microsoft took preemptive action to avoid antitrust troubles with the European Commission last month, stripping its Internet explorer browser out of European editions of Windows 7. Microsoft had a contingency plan to ship Windows 7 in January in the event that antitrust actions delayed its release.
Yesterday, the company outlined when Windows 7 would become available for different categories of customers. Business customers, developers and IT professionals will receive first dibs, and be able to download Windows 7 early next month.
It will be interesting to see whether Windows 7 provides a stimulus to global PC sales, which have been slumping in the midst of the worldwide economic downturn. My prediction is that there will be a modest bump in sales– these things happen in cycles.
Windows 7 is a big improvement upon Windows Vista, but the hoopla of days when people lined up to buy OS’s is over. There are simply too many alternatives, and the Web is the great equalizer.
My trusty old Windows XP computer accesses the same Web services that someone on a Windows 7 PC uses, and my iPhone keeps me connected when I’m away from my desktop machines. If I buy a new PC I’ll opt for Windows 7, but the functionality that it delivers will not dramatically alter my daily experience with personal technology. Do you agree?