Why Windows 7 will be out later this year

With the public Windows 7 release candidate right around the corner, and development towards the RTM on track, people are wondering "When is the final release date for Windows 7?" With many dates flying around, I personally think that Windows 7 will be out later this year, and here's why:

First, let's back up a bit. Microsoft has set an internal date of January, 2010, approximately 3 years after Vista. Now let's say for the sake of argument that turns out to be true. This would be a big mistake for Microsoft because they'll miss the crucial holiday season, when obviously people will be buying new computers and software, and we all remember how badly Vista's release went.

Right now as of this writing, the latest build in the winmain branch is 6.1.7116.0.winmain.090422-1816. Since build 7100 was the release candidate, and Microsoft only increments the second number in a build number when they reach a major milestone, let's assume that the RTM will be build 7200. Keep in mind that any build 7100 and up could be the RTM if no showstopper bugs are found.

Let's assume that a new build is complied each day all the way up to 7200. That means that the RTM would be complied around July 15, 2009, give or take a few days if builds aren't complied on the weekends. Microsoft has stated that the Windows 7 upgrade program will start June 26th, 2009, Acer is giving a date of October 23rd, 2009, and Microsoft Senior Vice President Bill Veghte told Paul Thurrott that "a holiday release is accomplishable.". All of these point to a 2009 release.

But there's another date that Microsoft may not want to miss, and that's around September. Why September? Because that's when school will be starting, and students will be buying new computers for school. OEMs can greatly help Microsoft by selling computers pre-loaded with Windows 7 already on them with back to school deals before boxed copies of the software go on store shelves.

Unofficially and off the record company officials have told Neowin that they are targeting a Summer RTM and a Fall general availability. We are going to guess July RTM, September General Availability.

Marketing also plays a crucial role in Windows 7's success, and it looks like Microsoft is starting to gear up for marketing Windows 7 already. We'll have to wait and see when Windows 7 will start being featured in Microsoft's ads, but I suspect it'll be soon.

Neowin Editor Tom Warren contributed to this article

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The linked article claiming Win 7 will be out in 2010 is dated March 13 2008...over a year old. Pretty much everything as of mid last year has pointed towards a late 2009 release so as with others, I don't see the big surprise here.

Other assumptions are off too such as "lets assume 7200 is the RTM build". Honestly I doubt the powers that be are that naive to say that that EXACT build will have to be the final so they have to finish in exactly X amount of days at one build a day. Even if 7200 does end up being the final release, they are very capable of fudging the build number and skipping some simply so they can release on a clean build number if thats what they want.

The biggest hint isn't the build numbers themselves but the fact the Beta shipped months ago, RC is out now (and public next week) and generally Win 7 has had a very good reception.

Its not a secret its coming out later this year. From what I have pieced together from the different MS folks here at the Microsoft Management Summit (remember all the tools to deploy Win7 have to come out around the same time) it will be probably be in late Oct or early November. They havent given firm dates, but some Service packs to support win7 are coming out "within 90 days but probably after xmas". And some of the next version of products are slated for the end of this year.

they should just release the RC, its pretty damn perfect as is. why it takes july - end of the year for RTM to go retail makes no sense, when RTM is finished code and all fixes can be released as updates via windows update anyway.

I've received a good old letter from HP stating that OEMs such as them will begin selling hardware with Win7 RTM Preinstalled as soon as the end of next July

i personally recon around the end of the year, i'd say around november.

i think windows 7 is pretty much finished. its been stable as hell since before the 7000 builds

Talk about beating a subject to death, anyway Acer executives "confirmed" Oct. 23rd as the release date. As that's all around the net funny that it's not included in this "article".

Summer sounds good to me. This is by far the smoothest and most stable pre-release build I have seen on new hardware and older hardware. Good job Microsoft!

in a normal year this might be more important.

but i can't see as many businesses/schools/ordinary folk having as much dosh to spend on new kit this winter.

as long as they don't make the vista mistake and release it for the sake of releasing it i'll not be worried if it's september, december or next april.

I disagree. There is evidence that more people are using their debit cards than credit cards for the first time. I would assume people are saving their money for slightly bigger purchases when they see good deals.

People may be looking for their laptops and PC's to stretch a little longer before they buy a new one, maybe around college Fall, or the holidays.

This is not going to be like the Vista release. Look at the quality of the Windows 7 builds coming out of Redmond. If you'll recall, Vista Beta was nearly unusable, RC wasn't even up to the quality of the PDC build of 7, and then they rushed to RTM to meet their deadline.

With 7, MS is ahead of schedule. They could box and sell the 7 RC as-is and it would be 10x better than Vista RTM.

It's quite obvious that it's going to be released this year, and in time for Christmas, they wouldn't be stupid enough to miss that, especially during a recession, it'll be just what computer manufacturers need.

I don't think its unrealistic that RTM will come in July either, they will want to give partners enough time to get all their drivers sorted out and new versions of software ready to go.

Hey, i wanna ask. I just bought a vista home premium like 2-3 weeks ago... will i get a special rate to upgrade to windows 7 or a totally free upgrade to windows 7? Its unfair that i bought a vista and they produce a new OS...

Hey, I bought Vista Ultimate over 2 years ago! Will I get a free copy of Win 7? It's unfair that I bought a copy of Vista and they produce a new OS! :p

(Yes, I'm being sarcastic in case you can't tell. You knew Win 7 was coming, so it's your own fault for not waiting.)

spicyjoe said,
Hey, i wanna ask. I just bought a vista home premium like 2-3 weeks ago... will i get a special rate to upgrade to windows 7 or a totally free upgrade to windows 7? Its unfair that i bought a vista and they produce a new OS...

Yeah I bought a car a couple of months back - and guess what? The ******* produced a new model!
Christ, what is the world coming to?

No. The software hasn't been released yet. You'd only qualify for a "free" upgrade to Windows 7 in the months before release - so basically, July 2009 onwards.

Its unfair that i bought a vista and they produce a new OS

That's a great business model, make one product then shut down forever.

I think to really hit the IT market well, they should really aim for a september release, they could pick up sales from schools and then the holiday season and maximise the impact of Windows 7.

Yes, if they are any smart, that's exactly what they'll do.
Also, with things going as well as they are, I can't see them *not* going Rtm this summer.

Avee said,
yeh windows 7 iz going to be out this yr and the laest build iz not build 7116 it's build 7120

Believe me, if Tom Warren says the latest build is 7116, then it was definitely 7116 at the time of writing

I think that just about everyone agrees, Win 7 will be out later this year.

So really, what are you getting at?

Do we need a thread full of speculation? As if the release of windows 7 later this year needed a very difficult thought process. It's simple. RC is done, based on previous windows releases the time frame between RCs and RTMs is small, and well, everybody and their mommas are already basically saying it WILL be released this year (as if nobody has ever suspected that!)

An article on reason why it woulnd't be released this year would be a more interesting read. When EVERYTHING points to a release this year, this article feels very redundant.


THere seems to be ALOT of Windows 7 news here at Neowin. Oh well I can't wait myself and May 5th couldn't come soon enough! (Steven Sinofsky directing Windows is the best thing since Office 07)

We always ramp up the Windows 7 news around big releases like beta/RC/final etc We always have for Windows releases. We aim to do the same for Mac in future too and other OS's.

Aye, Neowin's got me all excited for a product I was almost 100% sure I'd pass up for Vista. Can't wait for release.

ccoltmanm said,
I come here daily, i mean hourly, for Windows 7 news. It is neoWIN after all.

neo = New
win = Windows