Windows 7 RTM in July, on sale October 22

Microsoft has officially announced details of the release schedule for Windows 7. It’s due to be released to manufacturing “in the second half of July” and will be available for sale beginning October 22.

I’ve got details over at ZDNet:

Windows 7 to launch October 22; RTM next month

I’ve also posted the list of finalists in my Windows 7 release date prediction pool:

Who will win the Windows 7 release date prediction pool?

And when you read the inevitable analysis by some ill-informed pundit that Microsoft is “rushing Windows 7 out the door” to bury Vista, point them to this post I wrote in January 2008. This chart is the key:

Days between Windows releases (business editions)

There’s been nothing rushed about Windows 7. It’s taken about as long to produce this release as it did to produce its predecessors, on average. The major differences in Windows 7 are quality and design. By both of those metrics, Windows 7 will rate incredibly high, better than any Windows release in history, in my opinion.

20 thoughts on “Windows 7 RTM in July, on sale October 22

  1. Chris, go read the original post and you’ll see why I included XP SP2 as its own element on the chart. By any reasonable definition, XP SP2 was a new operating system. Apple certainly would have charged for a new release with that many fundamental changes. Microsoft would have also, but chose not to do so because the security issues were so important. No other SP before or since has had the same impact on the product.

    Anyway, doing so would simply create one very long bar for Vista that would not accurately reflect the amount of time spent developing it. And if you then removed it as an outlier you would wind up with the same story.

  2. If Win7 is supposed to be “Vista done right” and they’re “rushing 7 out the door” to bury Vista, to me that sounds like “Bugatti is rushing it’s new replacement for the Veyron out the door to bury the Veyron because it was a disaster”. I love Vista, so statements like this make me want 7 even more!

  3. Vista is the best OS, Win7 is just a second edition of Vista nothing else more than Vista

  4. That’s really inter sting as I would have guessed Windows 7 arrived sooner than expected. Perhaps the real difference is they talked for sooo long about Vista (Longhorn etc) before it eventually arrived in comparison to the relative silence about 7 pre-beta.

  5. Bert, I asked that question of a senior Microsoft executive when I was in Redmond two weeks ago and was told the decision hasn’t been made yet. My guess is sometime in August, but it is strictly a guess.

  6. What about those tech launch shows like that “Heroes Happen Here” thing for Server 2008? Will MS hold those for Win7, and giving away copies to participants there of?

  7. Ed, when you say “by any reasonable definition, XP SP2 was a new operating system”, that’s quite a stretch… If SP2 was as you say, then MS was very kind, and gave a free upgrade from XP to XP SP2! If it were really a new OS, that would be interesting…

    I vote for Windows 7 to be a free upgrade like to all owners of Vista just like that too then 🙂

    I think it’s a stretch of your imagination to call XP SP2 a new OS… You can rationalize it extensively like you did, but still, it wasn’t a new OS. Your chart is cheating in that sense.

  8. Joe, you’re entitled to your opinion. I presented my analysis, and the number of kernel-level changes plus new security features added up to a major upgrade.

    I was there. I saw how much of an impact it had on the development process.

    And if you follow the links and read the history, you’ll see there was a vigorous debate within Microsoft aboutwhether to charge for the release that became SP2. It was originally codenamed Springboard and could have been called XP Release 2. Jim Allchin is the one who argued for giving it away. Here’s the quote from his interview with Mary Jo Foley:

    Q: So what was the deal with Windows XP SP2? I was always curious why you guys didn’t call that an operating system release, which it really was.

    Allchin: Well, right or wrong, that buck stops with me, because I made that decision. And this was against Steve Ballmer’s direction or opinion to me. And here’s the reason why I did it. In hindsight I look like an idiot.

    (But) I’ll stand by my decision. I stood by my decision because I was absolutely so worried about customers hesitating in deploying this, and I thought there could be a complete meltdown that customers were at risk.


    I made that decision. And I made it because I wanted no retesting, even though there was going to be some anyway, but I didn’t want people to think we were putting things in it.

    In fact, although there were some little minor things that improved features that went into it, I kept things out of it because I was afraid if we put things in it that might appear to be feature oriented, that I might have resistance. And my focus was get the customer secure…

    Follow the links and read the rest.

  9. It’s silly… SP2 wasn’t a new OS, otherwise I guarantee you they would have charged for it. Yes it was a big development effort, but really all they did was fix XP so it doesn’t become a disaster in the internet age (with the no-firewall pre-SP2 XP, all you needed to do to get your computer infected with thousands of viruses/trojans etc was to connect it to the internet and wait for 5 minutes and you were guaranteed to be infected… ).

    If SP2 was a new OS, then someone should correct wikipedia 🙂

    And we have a news scoop: MS released at least one free OS (free upgrade for those that had the previous version). That sets a precedent that I (as a customer) would love to see Microsoft repeat again!

    1. Joe, pounding the table and repeating yourself is not a useful form of debate.

      Pre-SP2, Windows XP had a firewall. It was turned off by default. SP2 included much more than that.

      At any rate, acknowledging that it was a “a big development effort” sort of proves my point. It occupied all hands at Microsoft. Zero work was done on Longhorn while Springboard was under development, and development did not resume until it shipped.

      And if you read that interview that I keep pointing you to, you will understand why SP2 was free and why that will never happen again.

  10. If XP SP2 is a separate OS, then wouldn’t Win95B (OSR2)/Win95C (OSR2.5) also count as such? 95B added FAT32, and 95C added USB support. Those were VERY big deals at the time, and have major impact to this very day!

    98SE — a service pack or a new OS? Microsoft actually charged a small upgrade fee (about $30ish or so IIRC) for that one, if you had 98 and wanted actual 98SE and not just the fixes. Many programs to this day state 98SE or better as one of their requirements, and will not work (or require an older version [e.g. Adobe Reader]) on the original 98.

    Maybe Windows 98SE should’ve been called Windows 99? And 95B/C should’ve been Win96/97?

    Indeed, from what I can tell, 98SE had more differences from 98 First Edition than WinME (sold as a fully separate OS) had from Win98SE! And, it’s fair to say that Win98FE had no more real differences (probably fewer) from Win95C/OSR2.5 than Win98SE had from Win98FE.

    You do know why Apple has not increased their OS’s version number’s before-the-first-decimal-point part in all this time since OS X 10.0 “Cheetah” was released, right? They painted themselves into a corner with the very name “Mac OS X”! They have nowhere to go from there, REGARDLESS of whether you interpret “X” as the alphabet letter or the Roman Numeral (the latter being what Jobs intended: it’s supposed to be “Mac Oh Ess Ten,” NOT “Mac Oh Es Ecks” — after all, its immediate predecessor, the last of Mac OS Classic, was Mac OS 9, so 10 — er, X — seemed the logical, er, NextStep at the time).

    If the letter, what would be next? Mac OS Y? You can predict the puns from the Mac-haters already: “Mac OS: WHY!?!?” And after that? “Mac OS: Zzzzzsnore” And THEN what? Name ’em like post-Z spreadsheet columns? “Mac OS AA?” Riiiight. “It’ll not only drive ya to drink, but to full-fledged alcoholism!”

    If we go by the Roman numeral (which would pretty much be needed if they were to increment the pre-first decimal point part of the version number), the picture isn’t much better. “Mac OS X” simply looks cool. The “X” on the various packages, all in the same font but in differing treatments (shiny chrome, glass-look, Jaguar spots, etc.). But would “XI” look as cool? Maybe close enough (the novelty factor after all this time would help for awhile). But after a few more major versions it’d start to get downright unwieldy: “Mac OS XVIII”!?

    Even the big cat codenames are running out. They already wasted the the fastest of the big cats (and land animals in general) on the very first (buggy as all get-out) release: 10.0.0 “Cheetah.” They used up the name of the deadliest and strongest with 10.0.4 “Tiger.” 10.0.6 will be the King of Beasts, “Lion.” Also gone are “Puma” (10.1 — the only such release that could truly be called “just a service pack” even though it was almost as different from Cheetah as XP SP2 was from XP SP1, if not from XP RTM — and which Apple did release for free, unlike all of the following), “Jaguar” (10.2), and “Panther” (10.3) and “Leopard” (10.5). “Snow Leopard” (10.5.5) is coming, showing how desperate they’re getting with the Big Cat names (maybe they should’ve released a 10.3.5 as “Black Panther” when they had the chance?). After “Lion,” it’s pretty much all downhill. What’d be next? “Ocelot” is pretty much the only truly big cat remaining, and that’s pushing the definition, as ocelots are rather wimpy compared to lions and tigers. And THEN what? “Cougar”? “Bobcat”? “Siamese”? “Tabby”? “Calico” (a genetic deformity)? “Manx” (hey, if it comes with a wireless mouse and, for whatever portable computer form-factor is newly en vogue then, if it’s fully wireless down to deriving power wirelessly, they can use that saying that it finally frees the computer from having any “tails”!)?

    “Mac OS X” was a cool name indeed, but it has NO FUTURE! No matter HOW you interpret it!

  11. MS will have a tremendous time improving on XP Professional with SP3. That version was self healing from stupid MS updates and dumb users like myself. I really wish them luck and good fortune with SEVEN. I will wait and see until next June.

  12. Windows XP SP2 can’t be considered a new relase of Windows and as for the devlopment time of Windows 7 longer than Vista, that’s just totally wrong!!

    The development on Vista started in may 2001, and went RTM in november 2006 (both are facts, look it up) and that’s roughly 2000 days development time instead of the 800 that you are claiming.

    For you to think that Windows 7 took more time to developed than Vista shows to me that you have no clue how Windows 7 compares to Vista, one just needs to look at the largely rewritten kernel in Vista and the totally rewritten graphics engine to get some idea and that’s just two of the major changes in Vista.

    But hey, what do I kow, Windows user since 2.03 and Network/System engineer since ’87…sigh

  13. Your comparison between XP vs 2K is lot more representative of what the Windows 7 vs Vista numbers should look like. Also win2K was just like Vista a major overhaul, Windows 7 should be compared to XP.

    XP was getting more credit than Win2K, when all the credit should have gone to Win2K, for the same reason that Vista deserves more credit than Win 7.

    For me there are only 7 major Windows operating systems:

    Win 1
    Win 2
    Win 3/3.11 workgroups
    Win 95/98/ME
    NT 3.5/NT4

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