Microsoft said it's planning to introduce a Windows 7 family pack that will allow buyers of the Home Premium version to install the operating system on up to three computers with a single purchase.
Windows 7 screen shot
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"We have heard a lot of feedback from beta testers and enthusiasts over the last 3 years that we need a better solution for homes with multiple PCs," wrote Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post Tuesday.
"I'm happy to confirm that we will indeed be offering a family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium (in select markets) which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs," wrote LeBlanc. He did not outline pricing for the family pack.
Windows 7 is expected to be generally available on Oct. 22nd. LeBlanc said Microsoft would start making the Release To Manufacturing version available to industry professionals and manufacturers next month.
Independent software and hardware vendors will be able to download Windows 7 RTM from Microsoft Connect or MSDN on August 6th. IT professionals and developers with MSDN or TechNet subscriptions can also get the RTM version on August 6th.
Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified members will get Windows 7 RTM on August 16th. Microsoft Action Pack subscribers can download the OS on August 23rd.
Release To Manufacturing, or RTM, is a significant milestone in the development of a software product. It means that all coding and validation is complete and the product can be sent for duplication on discs or setup for online download.
Microsoft is hoping Windows 7 will reinvigorate sales to businesses, which largely shunned Vista. A survey released earlier this month, however, indicated that many enterprises will hold off on Windows 7, at least for the first year of availability.
It's not uncommon for business customers to wait until the first service pack is released before moving to a new operating system to ensure that all the bugs are worked out.
InformationWeek Analytics is conducting a survey on Windows 7 adoption, to determine whether users are sticking with XP or investigating Mac OS, Linux or virtual desktops. The poll takes 5 minutes to complete; please participate by clicking here, through July 25.