At Microsoft’s internal “MGX” global sales meeting last week in Orlando, the troops were given an early word on Windows 7 (formerly codenamed Vienna) including an availability date of 2010. Despite Vista’s checkered history which would seem to preclude excessive reliance on such a prediction from Microsoft management, the whole point is apparently to assure customers and partners of the regularity of product delivery:
While the company provided few details, Windows 7, the next client version of the operating system, will be among the steps taken by Microsoft to establish a more predictable release schedule, according to sources. The company plans a more “iterative” process of information disclosure to business customers and partners, sources said.
This is all to the good, but we’ve heard the regular delivery story from Microsoft many times over recent years. It looks like yet another attempt to appease business customers who have been repeatedly burned by product delays on their Software Assurance contracts. As for the “iterative” aspect, presumably it is to avoid the Vista catastrophe of promising more than can be delivered.
Like Vista, Windows 7 will ship in consumer and business versions, and in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The company also confirmed that it is considering a subscription model to complement Windows, but did not provide specifics or a time frame.
Again the subscription model is presumably only for businesses per the Gartner Group report that a MS subscription licence may become ‘mandatory’. I can’t believe that Microsoft would actually try to sell an OS subscription to ordinary home consumers, but no bad ideas ever remain untried.