Windows 7 Finished, Ballmer Signs Off - InformationWeek

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Software // Operating Systems

Windows 7 Finished, Ballmer Signs Off

The operating system is now complete and ready for shipping to PC manufacturers.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer signed a gold DVD bearing the final, or "RTM", version of Windows 7, signaling that the software maker has completed work on its next operating system and will soon begin shipping it to computer makers and resellers.

Windows 7 screen shot
(Click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

Ballmer signed the Release To Manufacturing disc Wednesday onstage at a Microsoft sales event in Atlanta, alongside Windows division president Steven Sinofsky.

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. Windows 7 will be available to consumers on Oct. 22nd, either on a new PC or in a standalone box sold by retailers.

The full version of Windows 7 Home Premium is priced at $199, with an upgrade from Vista or XP costing $119. The full version of Windows 7 Professional is $299, with upgrades going for $199. Windows 7 Ultimate is priced at $319, with the upgrade version at $219.

In what's perhaps a nod to the recession and increased competition in the software market, the prices are about 10% less than what Microsoft charged for the corresponding versions of Windows Vista when that product shipped in January of 2007.

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.

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.

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