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Microsoft Pri0

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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August 27, 2009 4:14 PM

Windows 7 launch party will be in New York

Posted by Sharon Chan

I'm back. Looks like some stuff happened while I was gone -- dustup over pasting a black person into a homogenous Microsoft ad in Poland (Microsoft has apologized for this incident) and a ruling on a patent infringement case over Word which resulted in a $290 million fine and an injunction on selling Word (Microsoft is appealing and has requested a stay).

Today we found out Windows 7, the next version of Microsoft's flagship product, will launch in New York on Oct. 22.

Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos just confirmed by phone. It was reported this morning by ZDNet's All About Microsoft.

Comments | Category: Legal issues , Microsoft , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 11, 2009 10:58 AM

Windows 7 will ship in Europe without Internet Explorer browser

Posted by Sharon Chan

Microsoft confirmed reports from CNET and Bloomberg today that the company will be shipping Windows 7 in Europe without the Internet Explorer browser in it.

CNET's report cites a memo that was sent to computer makers saying the changes were being made to comply with European Union law.

Earlier this year, the European Commission notified Microsoft that the inclusion of its browser in Windows since 1996 violated European competition law. Check out our earlier coverage here. Microsoft was due to present its defense June 3 to 5, but canceled because senior regulators would not be able to attend. Here is the story on that development.

Comments | Category: Internet Explorer , Microsoft , Windows , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

June 2, 2009 11:52 AM

Windows 7 on sale Oct. 22

Posted by Sharon Chan

Windows 7, the next version of Microsoft's operating system, will go on sale Oct. 22, the company said.

The latest version will replace Windows Vista. Microsoft says it plans to offer a tech guarantee program that would offer a free upgrade to Windows 7 for people who purchase computers that come installed with Vista before Oct. 22.

The company did not have details on the time frame the guarantee will cover.

Comments | Category: Microsoft , Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 29, 2009 3:00 PM

Microsoft says Windows 7 Starter will be slightly bigger

Posted by Sharon Chan

In anticipation of its release of Windows 7 this fall, Microsoft announced some changes to its Starter edition. The Starter editions are popular on netbooks, smaller laptops that cost about $300.

Netbooks have become a strong growth segment in computer sales, and most are sold with Starter editions of Windows, which cost less than desktop and business versions of Windows. Previous Starter versions could only run three applications at a time. That restriction will be lifted in the Starter edition of Windows 7.

Having said that, the Starter edition will still have limits: It will not run DVDs, Windows Media Center (for watching recorded TV), the highly touted taskbar preview function for Windows 7, XP mode for applications that are not ready for Windows 7.

Netbooks should be able to run the more expensive "home" version of Windows 7, which will include all those features, Microsoft says. Buyers will just have to upgrade.

Comments | Category: Netbooks , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 11, 2009 11:35 AM

Windows 7 in store by the holidays

Posted by Sharon Chan

Microsoft confirmed today that Windows 7 will be in stores by the holidays, in a news release the company released for the Tech Ed conference.

The announcement also included some comments from Bill Veghte's keynote at the event. Veghte is the senior vice president of Windows Business: "With early RC testing and extensive partner feedback we've received, Windows 7 is tracking well for holiday availability."

For months, rumors have swirled that Windows 7 would be released in time for the holiday season, even as the release candidate of the operating system was made available to the public.

The release candidate, the final testing version of Windows 7, is available here.

Comments | Category: Microsoft , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 5, 2009 6:45 PM

BTW, Windows 7 release candidate now available

Posted by Sharon Chan

taskbar_peek_web.jpg A second wave of layoffs at Microsoft was announced today, including 1,200 cuts locally, Cinco de Mayo and...oh yeah...the Windows 7 release candidate is available publicly.

Get your hot, freshly brewed release candidate here.

The release candidate is the final testing version of the software before Microsoft ships it to computer makers to install on new PCs for sale.

To the right you can check out the new task bar and the icon-free desktop, except for the recycling bin. As you roll your mouse over the task bar at the bottom, you get a sneak preview of what's open in each application.

Comments | Category: Microsoft layoffs , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 26, 2009 11:12 AM

Windows 7 Release Candidate due in May?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft posted a download page for the next major Windows 7 milestone. The page, since removed, said the Windows 7 Release Candidate would be out in May -- a bit later than previous rumors of an April RC. Emil Protalinski at Ars Technica spotted the Microsoft TechNet download page and has recreated it on his blog. A release candidate is one of the last stops on the way to a final version of the operating system. Ed Bott at ZDNet incorporates the new info from the TechNet page into his estimated Windows 7 timeline. He's guessing late September for a retail launch, setting up for holiday PC shopping. "[H]oliday sales are crucial, and a September release allows for a full-on marketing blitz for the fourth quarter," Bott wrote.

Comments | Category: Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 4, 2009 8:09 PM

Ballmer explains how investors are reacting to cost cuts; says WinMobile 6.5 'not the full release we wanted this year'; talks Windows 7 marketing

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer addressed a packed auditorium of public sector technology executives gathered at the company's Redmond headquarters for its seventh U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit this week. He touched on some of the economic themes that have come up in several of his speeches recently, giving his take on funding for innovative ideas in a down economy and investors' reactions to Microsoft's cost-cutting measures. Ballmer also expressed some disappointment in the progress of Windows Mobile and gave his thoughts on marketing Windows 7. Read on for highlights.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Mobile , Steve Ballmer , Tech Economy , Windows 7 , Windows Mobile , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 4, 2009 5:04 PM

IE8 can be shut off in Windows 7, possibly squashing latest antitrust complaint as EC dials back monitoring of 2004 decision

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

A couple of developments on the European regulatory front today. One new, one old.

In a development that could have an impact on the current European Commission antitrust action against Microsoft, a build of Windows 7 has a feature allowing users to "turn off" Internet Explorer 8. The blogger who spotted the capability gets right to the point: "I believe this fully squashes the case that the EU has against Microsoft?" The case in question responds to a complaint from browser-maker Opera, and since supported by Google and Firefox maker Mozilla. In January, the EC issued a "preliminary view that the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows since 1996 has violated European competition law."

Meanwhile, the EC, citing changes in Microsoft's behavior among other factors, no longer needs a full-time trustee to monitor the company's adherence to a 2004 decision finding that Microsoft had illegally withheld interoperability information and tied Windows Media Player to Windows. The EC announced today it would monitor the company's compliance through technical consultants on an ad hoc basis.

Comments | Category: Internet Explorer , Legal issues , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 26, 2009 12:32 PM

Filling in more details on the Windows Vista, Windows 7 maps

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Two more pieces of the Windows puzzle fell into place yesterday and today. Microsoft announced it's nearing completion of Windows Vista Service Pack 2, which went out in near-final form to technical testers yesterday. And this morning, the company described some of the changes it's making in Windows 7 as a result of feedback from people who have tested an early version of that program -- all of which made a presentation today by Mike Cherry, a Windows expert at Directions on Microsoft, particularly relevant. Cherry, like many analysts, thinks Microsoft is on track to release Windows 7 ahead of schedule.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 25, 2009 10:50 AM

Microsoft news roundup: OEM exec says Windows 7 in September, October; Google wants to join EC antitrust proceedign against Microsoft; wrapping up TechFest

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

"According to current planning, it should be late September or early October." That's what Ray Chen, president of a Tapei OEM, Compal Electronics, told Bloomberg about when Microsoft may begin shipping Windows 7. That would put it ahead of Microsoft's officially stated schedule, which has the new OS due by January 2010. But it would match some observers' expectations that Microsoft will have Windows 7 available in time for the 2009 holiday season.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Google , Internet Explorer , Legal issues , Natural user interface , News roundup , Research , Search , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 24, 2009 6:15 AM

Microsoft Strategic Update: Ballmer tells Wall Street more dramatic cost cutting would be 'imprudent'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

With Microsoft's Redmond campus largely emptied out for the winter holidays, CEO Steve Ballmer crunched the numbers on the proper level of spending for his company against the current economic climate, which he has repeatedly referred to as a "reset" rather than just a recession. Ballmer said his own estimates for the weakness and duration of the downturn tend to be more severe than those of other business leaders he meets.

With that in mind, he settled on $27.5 billion of operating expenses -- a level the company aims to hold relatively steady through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and during its 2010 fiscal year. Ballmer made clear to financial analysts meeting in New York this morning for the company's annual strategic update that cutting back even more significantly -- say to $20 billion -- would be "imprudent."

"I think this is right," Ballmer said.

That should give some comfort to those wondering if the modest layoffs Microsoft announced last month were the beginning of a more significant reduction. Wall Street analysts and investors are pressuring companies in every industry to continue cutting costs as sales and profits slow dramatically.

The strategic update call just came to an end. Ballmer gave a detailed look at seven major business areas for the company. Check back here later this morning for more details.

Update, 7:50 a.m.: As he told Congressional Democrats earlier this month, Ballmer said Microsoft's corporate strategists have been evaluating past downturns -- particularly those driven by "deleveraging." The team read company annual reports from 1927 to 1938 to determine who did a good job managing through the Great Depression. "RCA, God rest them in peace, became our role model," Ballmer said. The company was able to dominate the television business because it continued to invest during bad times, he said.

Then he broke down how Microsoft plans to invest.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Advertising , Apple , Enterprise , Financial , Games & entertainment , Google , Microsoft layoffs , Mobile , Office , Online services , Open source , Search , Server and tools , Steve Ballmer , Strategy , Tech Economy , Windows , Windows 7 , Windows Azure , Windows Mobile , Xbox 360 , Yahoo acquisition , Zune |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 11, 2009 2:12 PM

Microsoft pushing businesses to dump XP now, not wait for Windows 7

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft today urged its business customers currently using Windows XP -- and there are a lot of them -- to consider "the risk of skipping Windows Vista." Deploying Vista now "will make the future transition to Windows 7 easier," Gavriella Schuster, a Microsoft senior director, wrote on a new Windows for your Business Blog.

Of course, with Windows sales in the tank last quarter, Microsoft has every incentive to push Vista, the operating system it has in the market now, rather than Windows 7, due out sometime in the next 12 months.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Windows , Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 3, 2009 10:11 AM

Windows 7 to come in six flavors, but Microsoft will emphasize only two

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft is making public its Windows 7 lineup. It will offer six SKUs (stock keeping units) of Windows 7, according to Mary Jo Foley, who spoke with a top Windows exec, Bill Veghte.

Veghte told her that the company has to offer this many flavors of its flagship product, Windows, because it's used by so many customers with different needs.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

January 29, 2009 10:24 AM

Windows 7 officially no more than a year away

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

According to Microsoft's official schedule, Windows 7 is due out no later than a year from now. Many expect it sooner, but the company has stuck with the same schedule: The next version will be out no later than three years from Windows Vista's general availability, which was Jan. 29, 2007 -- two years ago today. And what a two years it's been for Microsoft's flagship product. ...

No doubt, Microsoft and many Windows users are eager for what's coming next.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

January 22, 2009 7:49 AM

Tech tastemakers Pogue and Mossberg give Windows 7 thumbs up

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

On a day that started out with bad news from Microsoft, two of the world's most influential technology reviewers, David Pogue of The New York Times and Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal, are out with positive early reviews of Windows 7. Coincidence?

Continue reading this post ...


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January 10, 2009 12:06 PM

Windows 7 marketing, Apple 'iStick' are butt of 'Wait, Wait' jokes

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

NPR commedy news quiz "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" took a few swipes at the tech industry on this week's show. In the segment, "Who's Carl This Time," a listener contestant has to put a quote from the week's news in context. The quote:

"The company has essentially changed its marketing message to, 'It's not as awful as you think.'"

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Apple , Consumer Electronics Show , Macworld , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

January 9, 2009 3:14 PM

Windows 7 Beta interest overwhelms Microsoft servers; my friend says its worth it

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Windows 7 logo illustration by Seattle Times graphics artist Gabriel Campanario.

Was all the attention Microsoft gave to the test version of Windows 7 at CES Wednesday perhaps a bit too much? Public availability of the Windows 7 Beta, originally scheduled for noon today, has been pushed back as interest exceeded the infrastructure Microsoft had put in place to pass out the bits. In fact, even the company's official blog posts on the situation are crawling as of 3:27 p.m. The company is putting more servers online to accommodate the intense demand. And, according to one IT pro friend of mine, it's justified.

He grabbed the Windows 7 Beta a bit, ahem, early, after an epic struggle to install Vista Ultimate on a media PC he was building. Here's his story, as told to me in e-mail on Monday:

So, I went to Fry's this weekend to buy parts to build another computer at home - exclusively for doing video and music to my TV and surround system.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

January 7, 2009 6:30 PM

CES: Microsoft announces Windows 7 beta, partnerships with Verizon, Dell, Facebook

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LAS VEGAS -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is set to take the stage here now. Here's a rundown of the news he's planning to announce, along with some analysis, based on an advanced briefing from Microsoft and an interview earlier today with Robbie Bach, president of the company's Entertainment and Devices Division, who is expected to join Ballmer on stage. Check back for color from the speech and any surprises.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Consumer Electronics Show , Games & entertainment , Mobile , Search , Steve Ballmer , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

January 6, 2009 9:36 PM

CES: Netbook maker Asus partnering closely with Microsoft on Windows 7, but showing new Eee PCs with XP

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LAS VEGAS -- The netbook market exploded in 2008 with significant implications for Microsoft's flagship Windows business. The Consumer Electronics Association says in 2008 manufacturers shipped 10 million of these low-cost, lightweight computers meant for Web surfing, e-mail and other light-weight, connected activities.

One of the leaders in the market is ASUSTeK Computer, the Taiwan-based global computer hardware giant, whose Eee PC line helped kick-start the trend. Today the company rolled out the latest in that line, as well as several other new hardware devices, and highlighted its relationship with Microsoft.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Consumer Electronics Show , Hardware , Windows , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 30, 2008 9:57 AM

Microsoft news roundup: Windows 7 Beta tracking, 'Tough Love' for Search, year-in-preview

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Windows 7 logo illustration by Seattle Times graphics artist Gabriel Campanario.

Several stories today are tracking the status of Windows 7, the next version of Microsoft's flagship operating system. Mary Jo Foley, who watches the OS as closely as anyone, states that a test version of 7 "is poised to make its public debut at the Consumer Electronics Show" next week in Las Vegas. She notes that Microsoft has said this test version, Beta 1, will be "feature complete."

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: News roundup , Philanthropy , Search , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 19, 2008 10:19 AM

UPDATED: Windows 7 Beta coming soon?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Windows 7 beta link.JPG

A new link on Microsoft's Windows 7 home page has set off another round of speculation about when the company plans to release a more complete test version of its forthcoming operating system, and, by extension, whether Windows 7 would be released in time for the 2009 holidays, as some have speculated.

(Update, 2:35 p.m.: The link has disappeared. I've asked Microsoft's PR firm for an explanation. ... Looks like the posting was in error. Via a company spokeswoman at 2:43 p.m.: "As we said at PDC, we expect to deliver beta in early 2009 and we continue to be on track to deliver against that development milestone.")

The "Download the Windows 7 Beta" link appeared earlier today -- according to Neowin, which appears to have spotted it first -- but the link doesn't lead to anything of the sort as of mid-morning.

Continue reading this post ...


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December 3, 2008 12:51 PM

Microsoft international strategy exec talks economy, netbooks, Windows 7 (beta due early Q1) and Yahoo

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Neil Holloway, vice president of business strategy for Microsoft International and a 19-year veteran, gave investors a broad view of the company's hottest topics at a conference this morning. A Webcast can be found here. What follows is a summary of his main points.

What customers are saying. A few messages are coming through clearly, Holloway said during the Nasdaq OMX Investor Conference. "Help me save money" and "help finance me either as a partner or as an end customer," he said.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Enterprise , Search , Tech Economy , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 5, 2008 9:00 AM

WinHEC: Sinofsky, DeVaan keynotes cover details of Windows 7

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft Windows engineering chiefs Steven Sinofsky and Jon DeVaan are set to take the stage at WinHEC in Los Angeles right now to tell hardware makers what they can expect from Windows 7. You can access their keynote speech live via Web cast here. At least 1,500 people are expected at the conference.

I spoke yesterday with Jeff Price, senior director in the Windows Product Management Group, to get a preview of this morning's presentation.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Steven Sinofsky , Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

November 4, 2008 2:56 PM

Coming up: Microsoft WinHEC to focus on Windows 7 'fundamentals'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft is set to address another important constituency tomorrow -- manufacturers of computers and other hardware for the Windows ecosystem. We'll be watching closely for new Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 details at the company's WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) in Los Angeles.

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Comments | Category: Hardware , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 28, 2008 9:40 AM

PDC: Windows 7 will run on new low-cost 'netbooks'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LOS ANGELES -- Windows 7 will run on the new category of low-cost, lightweight laptops called "netbooks."

That's important because this fast-growing class of PCs may have cut into sales of Windows Vista in Microsoft's most recent quarter. Some of the leading "net books," such as the Asus Eee PC, can be purchased with a pre-installed Linux-based operating system.

(Note: Updates posted after the jump)

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: PDC2008 , Steven Sinofsky , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 28, 2008 8:36 AM

PDC: Windows 7 on tap

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LOS ANGELES -- It's Day 2 of Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference and the next version of the company's flagship operating system software, Windows 7, is on tap.

Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Windows and Windows Live engineering, is set to take the stage here to explain the new features of Windows 7 and his approach to building the product, which already appears markedly different than the process the company followed during development of Windows Vista.

(Update, 9:45 a.m.: Microsoft is announcing an online version of four of its most important Office applications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. Also, check this post for more updates from Sinofsky's keynote, during which he confirmed that Windows 7 will run on low-cost "net book" computers.)

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Comments | Category: PDC2008 , Steven Sinofsky , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 20, 2008 7:19 AM

Apple strikes back at Microsoft 'I'm a PC' campaign

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The ads war between Microsoft and Apple is getting a bit surreal. This weekend, new ads from Apple took aim at Microsoft's "I'm a PC" campaign.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Advertising , Apple , Branding , Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 15, 2008 7:05 AM

Report: Microsoft to ship Vista SP2 before Windows 7

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Mary Jo Foley's sources say Microsoft is working on a second service pack for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 to be shipped before Windows 7, which is due in 2010.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 14, 2008 2:48 PM

How Microsoft counts to 7

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

After Microsoft confirmed yesterday afternoon that the next version of Windows will be called Windows 7, there was much confusion and debate over how this could be the seventh release, version or generation of the Windows operating system. Today, Microsoft is clearing that up. Mostly.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Branding , Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 13, 2008 3:11 PM

It's official: Next version of Windows to be named 'Windows 7'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft announced today that the successor to Windows Vista will be called Windows 7. That's what the next operating system has been called during its secretive development process. An executive wrote in a blog post that the company opted to keep the '7' name for simplicity.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Branding , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 27, 2008 3:23 PM

Gates to tease with Windows 7 features tonight

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Bill Gates , Google , Personalities , Steve Ballmer , Tech Economy , Windows 7 , Yahoo acquisition |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 27, 2008 10:27 AM

Microsoft silence on Windows 7 broken, sort of

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The executive in charge of Windows, Steven Sinofsky, has been known for his silence as he leads the Microsoft engineers churning out the next version of the company's flagship operating system. Today, Ina Fried at News.com published a lengthy interview with Sinofsky.

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Steven Sinofsky , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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?

Continue reading this post ...


Comments | Category: Hardware , Intel , Microsoft , Windows 7 , Windows Vista |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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