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Microsoft Says It Won't Be Pressured On Windows 7

Microsoft says it plans to get Windows 7 out the door in time for the holidays, but company officials say they won't be rushed as they put the final touches on Vista's successor.

On Monday at TechEd 2009 in Los Angeles, Microsoft said it expects the Windows 7 RTM to come in time for the holiday season, and possibly as early as mid-August. It's up to Microsoft's partners to decide when Windows 7 PCs will be available, said Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, in a Monday post to Microsoft's Engineering Windows 7 blog.

Sinofsky also suggested that Microsoft won't succumb to pressure -- apparently coming from unnamed partners -- to finish Windows 7 as quickly as possible. "Many are pushing us to release the product sooner rather than later, but our focus remains on a high quality release," he wrote.

If the telemetry data and feedback Microsoft has been gathering throughout the Windows 7 development phase continue to meet expectations, Microsoft will enter the final phases of the RTM process in about three months, Sinofsky said.

Burned by repeated development delays in Windows Vista, Microsoft is being extremely careful about setting expectations for Windows 7 availability. Microsoft's inability to release Vista in time for the 2006 back-to-school and holiday seasons are seen as the first of many missteps that sullied Vista's reputation and doomed it to industry ignominy.

With the Windows 7 Release Candidate now in the hands of millions of testers, many of whom are still raving about the quality of the Windows 7 Beta, only an unforeseen major bug could derail Windows 7's march to RTM.

Last week, however, testers discovered a bug in the 32-bit (x86) English-language version of Windows 7 build 7100 that one Microsoft expert described as "a doozy."

Sinofsky explained that Microsoft has reached a stage where engineers are making very small changes to Windows 7 code and then carefully vetting those changes across different development and testing teams.

"We often say that shipping a major product means 'slowing everything down.' Right now we're being very deliberate with every change we make," he wrote.

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