Windows 7 Beta on Hold Until 2009

Sometimes I don't know my own strength. After several painful weeks of poking holes in the Windows 7 bubble (and being poked right back by the legions of Windows zealots), it seems my message about Microsoft not doing enough to satisfy IT is finally getting through: The company has now officially delayed the release of the first public Windows 7 beta until "early 2009" -- per the company's PR firm, Waggener Edstrom.

A delay of this magnitude, hot on the heels of our scathing rebuke of the PDC pre-beta, can mean only one thing: It's running scared. Microsoft is so concerned by the overwhelming response to our groundbreaking expose, "Windows 7 unmasked," that it's pulling back on the delivery reins so that it can retool the product to address the myriad performance and compatibility issues we identified.

I, for one, applaud their honesty. Microsoft knows it's dropped the ball with Windows 7; the initial PDC build was woefully inadequate and demonstrated none of the claimed improvements in performance or resource consumption. Delaying the public beta program -- which was generally accepted to be slated for the mid-December 2008 timeframe -- is a smart move. It'll give the company a chance to take another pass at the kernel code base and maybe, just maybe, reconsider dropping some of that consumer-focused baggage.

So, it's no Windows 7 Beta for Christmas this year, kids. You'll just have to keep playing with Vista or, if you're lucky, the "Blue Badge" unlocked version of the PDC build (6801). In the meantime, check out Paul Thurrott's concerns about the Windows 7 GUI and how it's "easy" but not "simple" -- or was it the other way around?

I especially like the part where he says that Windows 7 is "in the can. It's done. There are no major changes coming." As an FOM (Friend of Microsoft) in good standing, Paul should know. He gets special access to all sorts of supersecret Microsoft stuff -- a reward for his normally glowing coverage of all things Redmond. So when even he voices his concern over an issue (the befuddling Windows 7 GUI) and follows it up by stating that the product is basically finished at this point, you know we're in trouble.

Note: So far, I've focused mostly on the kernel mode aspects of Windows 7. But since it turns out there's really nothing to see down there (it's basically Vista + some minor tweaks), I think it may be time I turned my attention to the stuff that actually has changed -- i.e., the shell glitz and other user-land components.

Anybody got a spare copy of a post-PDC build I can borrow? We asked Microsoft for a copy but the company said it "can't accommodate us" at this time (code for: you're blacklisted!)

Maybe they can just pre-install it on the FREE LAPTOP COMPUTER I requested. I'm still waiting to hear back from them on that one, but so far it doesn't look good. Oh well…maybe next year!

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