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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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April 3, 2008 11:17 AM

A tea leaf about Windows 7 in Windows XP announcement: It's still on track

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Makers of ultra-low-cost PCs (ULPCs) such as ASUS and Intel can install Windows XP Home until June 30, 2010, or one year after the general availability of Windows 7, whichever is later, Microsoft said today. But isn't Windows 7 supposed to be available in 2010?

Yes. Microsoft confirmed as far back as last summer that it is targeting Windows 7, the internal code name for Windows Vista's successor, for 2010.

Michael Dix, general manager of Windows Client product management, acknowledged that the ULPC XP Home announcement was worded "in a way that sort of raised suspicion" about that timing, because if 2010 is still the target for Windows 7, why list the June 30, 2010, alternative date?

To clarify, Dix said Microsoft is sticking to its previously announced Windows 7 schedule. The confusing language was added in an attempt to provide flexibility in the nascent ULPC market.

"We still believe what we said that the next version of Windows will ship three years from the general availability release of Windows Vista," Dix said. (Emphasis added.) The announcement today "is not a reflection of any lack of confidence in the next version of Windows shipping within the time frame we had previously announced," he added.

There is a nugget of detail in there for those keeping careful watch over Microsoft's publicly stated goals for Windows 7. Earlier this year, there was confusion about whether Microsoft was targeting Windows 7 for 2011, or for three years from Vista's release to manufacturing in November 2006 (putting the target for Windows 7 in late 2009), or three years from general availability, which was Jan. 31, 2007. Dix clearly said "general availability" so I'm keeping my Windows 7 finish line at 2010.

On a related note, the certainty with which Microsoft is heading toward that 2010 release target could be hurting adoption of Vista. The Forrester Research report I referenced in my story notes:

"2008 will be a make-or-break year for Vista: One-quarter of enterprises have scheduled 2008 deployments, but given the slow start, little gain in productivity, and the timetabled release of Windows 7 in [the second half of] 2009, businesses may decide to pull back rollouts or skip the version altogether, pushing Vista the way of Windows Millennium."

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