A number of media sources have picked up on a statement Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates made last week that suggested Windows 7 might show up next year. According to News.com, Gates asserted, "Sometime in the next year or so we will have a new version" when discussing Windows Vista at a meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank in Miami.
If past Windows development cycles weren’t already a strong enough indicator that Gates was misunderstood, Microsoft has spoken to both BBC News and EE Times to say Windows 7 is not, in fact, due out next year. To BBC News, a spokesperson for the software maker explained that Gates was alluding to a pre-release version of the future operating system. EETimes, meanwhile, received a statement from Microsoft reiterating that Windows 7 development is expected to take three years counting from Vista’s January 30, 2007 retail launch.
For those unfamiliar with Windows development time frames, Windows XP beta testing alone took almost a year, and Vista’s testing period spanned about a year and three months. Meanwhile, Microsoft stated last month (and repeated again to EE Times last week) that the Windows 7 development process is currently in its "planning stages."