Windows 7 will hit store shelves sometime next year. And if I had to guess exactly when it would happen, November 2 would be my answer.
Yes, I know that Microsoft has said that it plans on releasing Windows 7 by early 2010 and there has been no confirmation on the part of the software giant that would indicate a 2009 release. But when we consider that Vista is still in trouble, Microsoft extended the XP deadline even further into 2009, and there's no end to Vista troubles in sight, I simply don't see any other option for Ballmer and Company.
Microsoft knows all too well that it made a slew of mistakes with Vista. Intent on turning things around and putting this mess behind it, I think the company will make a major announcement in the next couple months detailing the future of Windows and the exact release date of Windows 7. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if we hear about it at CES when Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer takes the stage to deliver his keynote address.
For the past year, all we've heard from top Microsoft brass is how great Windows 7 will be. Ballmer said it will be like Vista, but "better." Gates said that Windows 7 will be the next major release from the company that everyone will want. And time and again, when given the option of discussing Vista or Windows 7, Microsoft almost always chooses the latter.
Realizing that, doesn't it stand to reason that Microsoft would do its best to release Windows 7 as quickly as possible? And if it was shooting for an early 2010 release when it still hoped that Jerry Seinfeld and its own brand of "I'm a PC" ads would improve Vista's standing, don't you think it will try to release it sooner now that those ads haven't done anything to improve Vista's stance in the market?
November 2 seems like the perfect day for Microsoft to release Windows 7 next year. It not only provides the company with ample time to improve the OS and get it ready for the public, but it shows vendors, software partners, and consumers themselves that it's serious about getting Windows right this time. And perhaps most importantly, that release date puts Microsoft in the position it wants to be in: ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Say what you will about Vista and its value, but I don't see it lasting another year. Microsoft has learned its lesson with Vista and its hellbent on ensuring it doesn't commit those mistakes again.
That's why Windows 7 is coming next year and that's why I'm looking forward to it.