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Acer nails Windows 7 for October release

Microsoft extends RC play

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Another piece has fallen into place for an autumn 2009 release of Windows 7.

Acer, the world's joint second largest manufacturer of PCs, has reportedly given October 23 as the date when Microsoft's successor to Windows Vista will become available.

Bobby Watkins, Acer's UK managing director, gave the date saying there will be a 30-day upgrade period during which time customers buying a new PC will get Windows 7.

It's the last crack in the patently ridiculous façade that Microsoft keeps painting of Windows 7 not becoming available until 2010.

Microsoft Windows senior vice president Bill Veghte reportedly said Monday that a holiday release of Windows 7 is "accomplishable".

Such statements from executives like Veghte at Microsoft are not made off the cuff, and they are not executive gaffs. Microsoft's speakers are always on message, and not only will Veghte have spoken with a certain degree of authority, what he said would have been officially sanctioned.

Microsoft Thursday afternoon refused to comment on Watkins' date, but said simply it remained committed to general availability of Windows 7 within three years of Windows Vista.

Windows Vista was made broadly available in January 2007, following a "business launch" in the previous November. That would put Windows 7 between November 2009 and January 2010.

However, the operating system is completed, and sitting on the software makes no sense. Even a November release would be too late for Microsoft to capitalize on the autumn back-to-school and Christmas-shopping seasons, that traditionally lifts its results and those of PC makers.

With Windows 7 in a state of completeness - with a release candidate now ready and being downloaded - Microsoft should, as The Reg's said before, be expected to ship finished code to OEMs this summer with general availability on PCs and as boxed product in October. That would be entirely consistent with Watkins said. Remember, too, Windows XP - Microsoft's last operating-system success - shipped in an October, in time for the 2001 Holiday season.

Microsoft, separately, has confirmed you will be able to use the Windows RC - that became available Thursday - for more than a year. The pre-release code will work until June 1, 2010. Typically, pre-release code is de-activated after a short period of time.

The company was unable to provide a reason for the length of time, but the generosity lends further credence to the idea Windows 7 is feature-complete and stable enough to be considered finished.

Microsoft's generosity will also likely be used to help seed the market, and encourage early adopters to transition to paid copies of Windows 7 once the RC expires. ®

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