Well, now that we have shipped Windows 7, and General Availability (GA) is right around the corner, I wanted to spend a brief bit of time taking a look at how our landscape will be changing for the RTM release.

First, the big question that everyone is asking is, “when are you releasing ACT 6.0?” That’s probably because of the branding inside of ACT 5.5 (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=24DA89E9-B581-47B0-B45E-492DD6DA2971&displaylang=en), since it explicitly says Windows 7 RC in the reports. ACT 5.5 is ready to go for your Windows 7 migrations (in fact, that’s what it was designed for). For those of you who are bothered by the “RC” moniker, well, that’s an easy one. It’s a server-side change, and we’ll be removing RC from the name around GA. So, hopefully that will defuse that one.

Are we working on an ACT 6.0? Yes, sometime in early 2010. But you don’t need to wait for it – it’ll just be adding some new features. I haven’t seen anything so far that I’d consider a “must have” for starting my deployment, though I am excited that some of the bugs I opened that annoy me the most already have fixes checked in! :-)

What about the Windows Vista Compatibility Center (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/) – is there going to be a Windows 7 Compatibility Center? Again, I’d be looking for this around GA. Since the day we RTM’d, we’ve had teams working furiously to get as many support statements for Windows 7 as possible (which is what this list is based off of). So that is well underway.

In case you weren’t aware, we are releasing this information as a downloadable list around once a month (the latest version was from July 9) so you don’t have to look up applications one by one if you have a big pile of them. You can find that here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9df23606-7276-4ce2-8993-143e101ddbcd&displaylang=en

We’ve had teams around the world reaching out to every ISV we can in order to get applications compatible with Windows 7 in time for RTM, and this work continues. But, side by side, we’ve also been trying to track which applications are supported on Windows 7 (because the fact that it does work isn’t as helpful if you don’t know that information), and you should start seeing that in October. It’s been a long hard run (and many of us have collected more than our fair share of frequent flier miles along the way) but it’s finally all coming together.