Microsoft tells customers Windows 7 will ship in 2010

Microsoft has sent a letter to its customers telling them to expect Windows 7 in 2010.

Microsoft tells customers Windows 7 will ship in 2010

The letter from senior vice president Bill Veghte says “our plan is to deliver Windows 7 approximately three years after the January 2007 general availability launch date of Windows Vista.”

The letter slightly contradicts Steve Ballmer’s declaration last month that Windows 7 would arrive in 2009, although Microsoft’s press office has steadfastly stuck to the “three years after Vista” line ever since Ballmer’s speech.

Veghte’s letter is the second indication in as many days that Microsoft is keen to clarify its roadmap. Yesterday, the company insisted that it would stick to its plans to withdraw Windows XP on 30 June, albeit with a series of notable exceptions and workarounds.

The new letter, which is entitled, “An Update on the Windows Roadmap,” says that “you have told us you want a more regular, predictable Windows release schedule,” prompting Microsoft’s decision to share the launch details with its customers.

Microsoft also offers a veiled apology for the problems with Windows Vista. “You’ve also let us know you don’t want to face the kinds of incompatibility challenges with the next version of Windows you might have experienced early with Windows Vista,” Veghte adds. “As a result, our approach with Windows 7 is to build off the same core architecture as Windows Vista so the investments you and our partners have made in Windows Vista will continue to pay off with Windows 7. Our goal is to ensure the migration process from Windows Vista to Windows 7 is straightforward.”

That is, of course, assuming that customers make the move to Vista before the launch of Windows 7. Forrester Research recently issued a report claiming many businesses were planning to skip Vista altogether and wait for Windows 7. And given that Microsoft’s now confirmed Windows 7 is only 18 months away, even more might be tempted to wait.

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