Microsoft plans to publicly launch the Release Candidate for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to the public in the last week of May, according to a report in the Microsoft enthusiast blog Neowin.net.
Neowin, which earlier predicted the Windows 7 RC would arrive on April 10, on Monday referenced information from Russian language Web site Wzor that purportedly pertains to a revision to Microsoft's 2010 Technical Adoption Program (TAP).
According to the report, Microsoft on March 11 completed the latest version of Windows 7, build 7061, and plans to start circulating a Windows 7 RC "escrow"--a near-final build in which testers look for so-called "showstopper" bugs--in the last week of April. The public launch of the Windows 7 RC will come in the last week of May, the report claims.
Microsoft has for the past several months said only that it plans to launch Windows 7 sometime in late 2009 or early 2010, although many industry watchers expect the final release to come well in advance of the 2009 holiday season.
Microsoft has already revealed many of the changes it has implemented in Windows 7 since the beta test period ended in mid-February. In addition to fixing a pair of issues related to User Account Control, Microsoft has also made it possible to disable Internet Explorer in the Windows 7 RC, the latter a move that many believe was taken to avoid another legal battle with European regulators.
One issue looming for Microsoft partners is the fact that many companies--especially smaller ones--are still using Windows XP, and the hardware refresh that Microsoft recommends with new operating systems may not be the slam-dunk it used to be in better economic times.
While many of these organizations may like what they see in Windows 7, the lack of a simple XP-to-Windows 7 upgrade path could relegate some to the sidelines.