Our Worldwide Partner Conference was on this week, and there has been a flurry of announcements. I’ll summarise those that may be important to you over the next few days, but if you can’t wait then go over to our PressPass site.
One of the most important things mentioned at the conference was the imminent release of Windows 7. The Windows 7 team immediately added some more info to their blog, to give a bit more detail.
The most important thing is that our customers who have a Campus Agreement, or another agreement with Software Assurance, will be the first to get access, and it looks like that’s in the middle of August.
Here’s the verbatim from the Windows 7 blog:
As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July. Once Windows 7 is complete, how do I get it? The answer depends on who you are: MSDN & TechNet Subscribers: Subscribers will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 a few weeks after we announce RTM. Volume License (VL) Customers: Customers with Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download the final version of Windows 7 Enterprise a few weeks after we announce RTM. As announced today by Bill Veghte during his WPC09 keynote, customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 7 through Volume Licensing on September 1st. Consumers, Enthusiasts, & Beta Testers (Everyone else): The retail version of Windows 7 will be available in stores October 22nd. If you pre-ordered Windows 7, it should be delivered sometime around the October 22nd timeframe (depends on the retailer). On New PCs: OEMs are expected to start shipping new PCs with Windows 7 pre-installed on them around October 22nd.
As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July.
Once Windows 7 is complete, how do I get it?
The answer depends on who you are:
Whilst I am very enthusiastic about Windows 7 (and have Vista deployed in student clusters), noone in their right mind would think about deploying it widely this summer. There is not enough time between release and the start of the academic year.
So Summer 2010 it is...
There's a couple of things which are significantly different with Windows 7 than previous releases of products, and it is perhaps those things that means that I meet people who do plan to deploy widely as soon after release as they can.
One thing is that (literally) millions of people have been running it since Beta, and are currently running the Release Candidate, and despite our advice are running it on their main systems. It's a very different way of releasing a product compared to the old model, where you'd wait for SP1 before deploying, so that "things could be ironed out". Now, we've got significantly more use before we even get to release.
Secondly, it's the fact that people are finding it positive running the pre-release versions, especially because of its ability to run on older hardware. That means that people see it as a way to re-unify their estate onto a single version of Windows, with all of the benefits of easier management.
I guess we'll wait and see what happens this summer!