Microsoft has confirmed the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) (aka general availability) date for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 as October 22, 2009. RTM/GA code will be delivered to partners and TechNet/MSDN subscribers at the end of July.
According to an informal survey on ZDNet, this could mean the beginning of a delay period for many new PC purchasers.
Here’s a snippet and poll results from the ZDNet article:
“Now, this presents anyone thinking about buying a new PC with a dilemma. Do they buy a PC now and skip 7 until they buy another? Buy a PC now and upgrade it when 7 is released? Wait until the tech guarantee is on offer, buy a PC with Vista on it and upgrade when the OEM delivers the upgrade? Or do they just wait for a PC with 7 pre-loaded on it? What would you do?”
- Wait until you can pick up a PC with 7 pre-loaded (54%)
- Wait until the tech guarantee is on offer, upgrade when 7 is available (27%)
- Buy the PC now with Vista on it, upgrade to 7 when it’s available (5%)
It’s apparent from this data that, in general, people don’t like upgrades (54%) compared to those that are comfortable doing the upgrade (32%) so they may delay their purchases until the PC’s pre-loaded with the fresh OS is available (October).
Could this mean trouble for Microsoft?
Probably not. First of all, not many people who go to buy a laptop online or at the local tech superstore are going to be aware of these dates (unlike us early information seekers). Also Microsoft is obviously a large company with a large array of revenue streams, so that a slight downward turn in Vista revenues might only be a short blip on the radar.
I am guessing Windows 7 is going to be a huge hit, with the overwhelming majority of users who’ve tried the OS providing very positive reviews. Unlike Vista, it’s small and fast enough to be loaded onto netbooks. Early tablet users (shout out to Ryan!) are enjoying the enhanced multitouch capabilities. Native VHD and boot from VHD support will be huge, once people understand it. Built-in Wireless anywhere will allow you to have mobile-phone like access to the web from anywhere. And Wordpad. Wordpad looks nicer.