You can never trust Microsoft ship dates

Ask anyone involved with technology about the shipping dates that are associated with Microsoft products and once they pick themselves up off of the floor from laughing so hard you’ll hear things like months or years. Microsoft has over the last couple of decades developed a really bad reputation for suggesting on ship date for products only to later change it a some date in the future. It never failed with Vista probably being the poster child of this habit. The only exception to this unspoken rule of IT has been the Office product line which use to be headed by Steven Sinofsky; who is now in charge of the Windows platform.

However this appears to be changing with the upcoming release of Windows 7. Publicly Microsoft has been saying the the ship date for Windows 7 will be 2010 but privately to OEMs and select partners they are confirming the date that I have believed for some time. What they are hearing is mid to late 2009 or in otherwords just in time for the Christmas buying season.

But before Windows 7 can gold in time for that date it still need to go through the now standard public beta cycle. In a post today Mary Jo Foley provides with some dates that she has been hearing in the past little while

Here are the whisper dates for Windows 7 I’ve been hearing:

  • Feature-complete, public Beta 1: The week before Christmas 2008 (Microsoft is saying Q1 2009)
  • No public Beta 2 (Microsoft isn’t saying whether there will be a Beta 2)
  • Release Candidate: Q1/Q2 2009 (Microsoft is saying there will be “a release candidate” but offering no due date)
  • RTM: Mid-2009 (Microsoft is saying “early 2010″)

(There are a few wild cards to factor in here, like possible law suits, OEMs not being able to preload in time to make a certain launch goal, etc. But these are the dates I’ve been hearing through the grapevine for the month-plus.)

I am actually looking for when the beta goes public and unlike Vista I might actually install it because really even at beta stage it can’t be any worse than Vista.