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November 7, 2008 9:50 AM

Windows 7 for Christmas (in 2009 ...)

Posted by Brier Dudley

Ina Fried found gold in a session at Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Los Angeles: A company director finally clarifying the Windows 7 release schedule.

Director Doug Howe made it clear the company's aiming for a Windows 7 release in time for the 2009 holiday season.

Microsoft isn't saying this explicitly and has stuck with the "by 2010" timeframe.

As usual, it doesn't want to be rushed to meet a deadline. It also wants to preserve a flexible timetable, so people don't tag 7 with the "delayed" label if it takes a little longer to finish.

Microsoft owes it to PC makers to get the system done by fall so there are fresh machines ready for the big holiday selling season. Especially after they were shorted a holiday season by Vista's delays, and then stuck with an underwhelming platform.

Talking to Fried after his presentation, Howe said: "Definitely the holiday focus is going to be on 7."

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.