Last week Microsoft had a change of heart and decided to go back on what they had previously said by offering testers on the Windows 7 technical beta program a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate, in reward for their efforts in testing the new operating system.
Previously Microsoft revealed that testers would not be receiving Windows 7 for free and argued that the discounted pre-order offer, which was available to all consumers, was partly done for the benefit of beta testers. This was met with a bad response from bloggers and testers alike.
An email recently sent out to members of the invitation only Windows 7 Technical Beta Program confirms that they will be able to download a full copy of Windows 7 Ultimate from tomorrow (August 6th):
Thank you for doing your part in making Windows 7 great! As a member of the technical beta program you took the time to download, install and give us your feedback on Windows 7 during development. Over the last 7 months you have participated in chats, live meetings and newsgroups as well as reported bugs to help us find and fix many issues. To recognize your outstanding contribution to the product we are pleased to offer you a complimentary copy of Windows 7 for your personal use.
- As a member of our technical beta program you are eligible.
- We are offering you a full (non-upgrade) copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition for your own personal use, not to be resold.
- You will be able to get access to your copy one of two ways:
- To get up and running quickly you will be able to download your copy and get your product key via Microsoft Connect. English downloads will be available August 6th. German, Japanese and Arabic will follow as they become available.
- As a member of our technical beta program you have an alternative. We have reserved a limited amount of boxed retail copies that you can choose to receive instead. These are "first come, first served". If you opt to have us ship you the boxed copy you should be aware that it will take much longer until you will be up and running on the final version. We will need time to manufacture and ship the copies to you. This means that you may not receive them until they are available on shelves October 22nd or later. Also, for people outside the United States you may be required to pay duties or other local taxes upon receipt.
Please visit [link removed] for instructions on the above selection.
On behalf of the entire Windows product team, THANK YOU
As previously announced, eligible MSDN and TechNet customers will also be able to get hold of the English version of Windows 7 RTM from tomorrow, with other languages following by October 1st. The same applies to ISV (independent software vendor) and IHV (independent hardware vendor) partners who will be able to download it from Microsoft Connect or MSDN tomorrow.
OEMs have already received the RTM code and Volume License with Software Assurance customers should be able to get Windows 7 RTM from the Volume License Service Center on August 7th with other languages coming a couple of weeks afterwards.