Microsoft confirms 2009 Windows 7 launch

Finally. After weeks of rumors and hints from other companies, Microsoft has admitted it: Windows 7 will hit PCs in 2009. CNet News' Ina Fried got the scoop from Microsoft director Doug Howe after a presentation at the ongoing Windows Hardware Engineering Conference:

The slides and Howe's presentation appeared to confirm what has been widely speculated--but something Microsoft has not outright said--namely that Windows 7 is aimed to ship around mid-year, in time to be on machines that ship for the 2009 holiday buying season. After the session, Howe essentially confirmed that Microsoft is aiming Windows 7 for the holidays.

"Definitely the holiday focus is going to be on 7," Howe told me.

Microsoft's official line so far has been that Windows 7 will ship three years after Windows Vista's general availability date. That would pin the launch on January 31, 2010. As Fried suggests, though, the company may need to release Windows 7 to manufacturing next summer (or perhaps in the early fall) if it's planning a big holiday season push.

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