Microsoft Posts Vista Release Candidate 1

Vista Release Candidate 1 is now available at least to some outside beta testers, according to a posting from the Microsoft exec in charge of the effort.

Testers expected this drop in late August, early September.

This code drop is going to select testers--those in the TechBeta and TAP programs, according to a Friday post to the Vista blog.

Next week it will broaden out to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, said Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsoft's platforms and services group in his posting.

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According to a price list published by online retailer last week, general availability for Vista, and its application twin Office 2007, is January 30. Microsoft has promised volume licensees will get their code before year's end.

Even if the Windows Vista client makes it out on those dates, it is already more than a year late after a long-and-tortuous road. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said the company has identified problems in the process that led to these delays and vowed they will not be repeated.

Allchin last year pegged his retirement date to the shipment of Vista.