By David Worthington | Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at 3:13 pm
I’ve confirmed a report by Bloomberg news report that Microsoft plans to ship Windows 7 by October. Microsoft has also worked out a contingency plan for a secondary launch date in the event that the European Commission takes action, a well-placed source at Microsoft told me.
Ray Chen, president at Taipei-based Compal Electronics, made the disclosure at an investors’ conference at the company’s headquarters today. He also projected that Windows 7’s release could help reinvigorate sagging PCs sales amid the global economic downturn. Chen is positioned to know: Compal produces laptops for big-name brands including Acer and Hewlett-Packard.
A source at Microsoft told me that Chen is right on the money. The October timetable also meshes with the unofficial word that I have been hearing for weeks. Should the EU take action, Microsoft will push the release back to January, mirroring Windows Vista. OEMs have been asked to move forward as if October is the date regardless of what happens in the courts.
Indeed, Microsoft appears to be on track with its new operating system, and is nearly ready to begin updating its beta release to solicit more feedback from testers.
Windows 7 builds on the plumbing that was laid by Windows Vista. Application and hardware compatibility issues should not involve anywhere near the hassles that the XP-to-Vistra transition caused, because Windows 7 is not a dramatic departure from Vista. Additionally, Microsoft had already completed work for application developers in October before it even issued the first beta.
Windows Vista also got off to a rocky start in part because it was released in January–about the worst possible time for a new OS to debut. But the European Union willing, and unless there’a some sort of unanticipated problem, expect Windows 7 to be on store shelves and preinstalled on new PCs for the holidays.