Today marks an important milestone in the Windows 7 project. The Windows 7 team is proud to share with you that a short while ago we have started to release Windows 7 to PC OEM and manufacturing partners. This means our next major milestone will be the availability of PCs loaded with Windows 7 and store shelves stocked with Windows 7 on October 22, 2009.
This is a milestone we could not have achieved without the broad participation across the PC Ecosystem we have talked so much about on this blog. Windows 7 is a product not just of Microsoft, but of a whole industry of partners of all kinds. Throughout the development of Windows 7 we’ve seen an incredible engagement from so many people that have contributed to making the Windows 7 engineering project one we, collectively, feel good about. The feedback and collaboration throughout the development of Windows 7 has been outstanding and valuable beyond measure. This work has created the kind of experience so many of you have talked about in this blog—the ability to use a broad range of PC hardware and peripherals with a great setup and out of box experience. On behalf of the Windows team and all of the successful installations and device connections, please let me extend an incredible “thank you” to all of our hardware partners who have done such excellent work.
Windows 7 has also been one of the most broadly and deeply tested releases of software we have ever had. Starting with a pre-beta in October of 2008 with a few thousand developers using Windows 7 at the earliest stages, through the Beta, and then the Release Candidate in May when we have had millions of people successfully running the product (and many on multiple PCs). As we have discussed in this forum, the ongoing depth usage of Windows 7 along with the breadth and variety of hardware and software configurations has provided (and will continue to provide) the key tools to make sure we continue to deliver ever-improving Operating System quality.
In developing Windows 7 we also set out to have a great dialog with you, perhaps our strongest critics and our biggest supporters. We know you expect a lot from Windows 7 and you demand a lot from the team that builds your OS. This blog has helped to bring significant issues and important decisions to light and we have debated them—here and elsewhere. Along the way we have definitely learned a lot about working together and also about many specific issues that are important to you. We have worked hard to find the right balance across many diverse points of view and we hope you share our feeling that we’ve done a good job at being open, honest, and transparent in how we have approached engineering Windows 7. The conversations we had on this blog have been a memorable part of developing Windows 7 and in our hallways, in Redmond and around the world, we’ve spent collectively thousands of hours discussing and acting on the feedback you have provided here.
While we have reached our RTM Milestone, no software project is ever really “done”. We will continue to monitor and act on the real world experience with Windows 7—we’ve used the Beta and RC process to test out our servicing and we have every intent of doing a great job on this important aspect of the product. Hardware partners will continue to provide new devices and improve support for existing devices. PC makers no doubt have quite a bit in store for all of us as they begin to show off PCs specifically designed for Windows 7’s new APIs and features. Software developers will have lots of new software to show off as well. All of this is yet to come and is very exciting.
Software projects on the scale of Windows are pretty rare and our team has a lot of pride, and as we have said so many times, is humbled by the responsibility. We are going to continue to learn and continue to improve how we engineer our products, with the aim of being the very best engineers we can be and delivering the very best OS for the world’s varied customers. Being an engineer is about learning and that learning comes from the experience gained in designing and delivering each release. Together we’ve learned and together we’ve engineered a wonderful product.
We know there are lots of questions about how to get Windows 7 and when, and of course more questions to come about exploring and using the full set of Windows 7 features. Our Windows Team Blog today has posted a lot of new information and gathered up some important details that we hope will answer your questions. Please check our blog and stay in touch on the in-market developments of Windows 7 there.
The final few minutes before RTM are a sign-off process where each and every team that contributed to Windows formally commits to having successfully executed the work necessary for the product to be in the release process. We gather one last time (for Windows 7) in the “Ship Room” and a representative from each team signs (literally) and signifies their team’s readiness for manufacturing. We thought we’d share this moment with you here today.