Thursday, July 23, 2009

Windows 7 RTM Release Date Officially Announced

Last week Windows 7 builds claiming to be the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build of Windows 7 hit torrents. Only, it wasn’t really the RTM build, Microsoft announced midweek — the RTM build was still forthcoming. The natural question remaining was — when?

Microsoft has now answered that, laying out its roadmap for RTM releases to different parties. For its ISV (independent software vendor) and IHV (independent hardware vendor) OEM partners, it will be gifting them with the RTM build via Microsoft Connect or MSDN on August 6 (in other words, expect the official RTM builds to hit torrents then).

Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified Members will have access to the RTM on August 16 via the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Portal, with remaining languages available on October 1, ahead of Microsoft’s October 22 release date. Microsoft Action Pack Subscribers can get the RTM build on August 23.

Volume License (VL) customers with existing Software Assurance (SA) licenses can get their hands on the RTM builds via the Volume License Service Center (VLSC) on August 7. Those without SA licenses will have to wait until September 1.

TechNet and MSDN subscribers will get the RTM build on August 6.

Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc confirms that 7 beta testers will not be given free copies of the OS, but he also confirms that a Family Pack multi-license bundle for Windows 7 Home Premium edition is forthcoming.

He states, “I know there have been some rumors going around about a “family pack” for Windows 7. We have heard a lot of feedback from beta testers and enthusiasts over the last 3 years that we need a better solution for homes with multiple PCs. I’m happy to confirm that we will indeed be offering a family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium (in select markets) which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs. As I’ve said before, stay tuned to our blog for more information on this and any other potential offers.”

No information on the pack’s official pricing is available at this time, though it street prices have already been leaked. According to Microsoft, over 40 percent of Windows 7 beta testers are IT professionals, so Microsoft estimates a significant percentage will be eligible for (legal) copies of Windows 7 RTM.