Microsoft has revealed that its next operating system Windows 7 is now fully complete and is being shipped to OEM (original equipment manufacturers) with a view to seeing the first Windows 7 machines, from netbooks to notebooks, hit the market on 22 October.
“Windows 7 has been delivered consistently against all odds by our engineering team and would not have been possible without incredible participation of industry partners,” said Rich Reynolds, general manager of Windows Commercial Marketing on a journalists’ conference call yesterday.
“The finished code is now delivered to OEM partners who have finished testing and are ready to tackle the final stage – the last execution to delivery of exceptional products that will show the simplicity of Windows 7.
“We are gratified by the positive response from early adopter customers, particularly SMEs whose feedback has been very positive.”
Reynolds said that over 10 million customers opted in for the customer experience improvement programme and over 400 million user sessions informed Microsoft of how people use the product and wanted to use it, which informed many of the design capabilities in Windows 7.
“Enterprise customers are finding value right out of the box, from existing infrastructure capabilities for end users to more productive, secure data environments. They are finding more compelling benefits from Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 Release 2, including direct access, branch caching and the ability to provide mobile users with access to corporate networks from anywhere easily,” he said.
It is understood that the new operating system will feature a virtual private network (VPN) capability that will allow users to access their computers remotely on any device.
“Small businesses are telling us that time is money and their feedback is the end user features are saving them time and money,” Reynolds added.
Reynolds handed the call over to Jim Ginger who leads the Global Computing Practice at Dell.
Ginger said that Dell and Microsoft engaged in a tighter integration of a new operating system and hardware than at any other time in the companies’ history. “During development we spent thousands of hours testing systems. General availability of Dell products with Windows 7 will begin 22 October.
“We want to simplify and improve IT. To deliver on this vision – which is based on millions of conversations – collectively Microsoft and Dell will deliver an experience that will wow customers.”
Ginger said, quoting Forrester, that 87pc of Dell’s customers are still using XP and that he expects many of these to skip the Vista generation and go directly to Windows 7.
“As far as we are concerned this is Microsoft’s best operating system ever and will remove the painpoint of transitioning to new systems.”
Ginger said Dell’s approach to selling the new Windows 7 systems, especially in the enterprise space, will be different. “We will not be employing armies of consultants but we will work to make the transition as easy as possible for users. The key benefits of Windows 7 will be security, easier management and anywhere, anytime access to your data.
“Windows 7 is the most stable operating system we have ever seen. We believe it will deliver the best PC experience to date,” Ginger said.
Responding to questions about the EU ruling preventing the bundling of Internet Explorer with Windows 7 machines in Europe, Reynolds said that the plan is to provide an internet pack for consumers, which they can pick up with their new systems and easily install.
“Thousands of OEMs are ready to deliver exceptional products that demonstrate the simplicity of Windows 7 starting 22 October. We are very optimistic,” Reynolds said.
In Ireland, current Windows Volume License customers, MSDN subscribers and TechNet subscribers will get first customer access to Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 in the coming weeks.
“Over the coming weeks, Irish businesses can start deploying full versions of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2s,” said Ronald Dockery, business manager, Client, Microsoft Ireland.
“The finished code is now delivered to our OEM partners, who are preparing to deliver great new products for the consumer public launch in October.”
More than 32,000 participants from approximately 10,000 companies signed up to have access to a breadth of helpful tools and resources needed to prepare for Windows 7.
“Irish Partners such as Novosco, Brandon Consulting Ltd, Maxima Ireland and Nitec Solutions have already invested significant time and resources to preparing themselves and their customers for arrival of Windows 7,” Dockery added.
By John Kennedy