Public Windows 7 beta coming on Friday

Microsoft gave a presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show late yesterday, and as the Associated Press reports, the company revealed that a public beta of Windows 7 is right around the corner. In fact, you should be able to download it tomorrow.

The AP says Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also gave the impression that Windows 7 is "almost ready for prime time," but CNet News heard a slightly more conservative pitch from Windows executive Bill Veghte. According to Veghte, Windows 7 may or may not ship in time for the coming holiday season. "I'm telling them that it could go either way . . . We will ship it when the quality is right, and earlier is always better, but not at the cost of ecosystem support and not at the cost of quality."

Going by a post on the Windows Team Blog, enthusiasts will be able to grab the public Windows 7 beta right from this page on January 9. MSDN and TechNet subscribers should have gotten early access on Wednesday, although pirates got an even earlier look when the beta leaked out on BitTorrent networks late last month.

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