The first retail sales of Windows 7 will take place in New Zealand and Australia on 22 October, Microsoft confirmed this week.
Windows 7 will hit first New Zealand, then Australia, due to the countries' placement with respect to the International Date Line. Microsoft announced last week that its new operating system would hit retail shelves and start showing up on new PCs from October 22.
"Our understanding at this time is that the availability of Windows 7 will 'follow the sun' on Thursday October 22," a Microsoft spokesperson said late this week. "As such, we're excited that the first retail sales globally of Windows 7 will take place in New Zealand and Australia as we cross the dateline ahead of other markets."
A number of large Australian organizations including National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Centrelink have already started examining Windows 7, and companies as large as Telstra have flagged their intention to eventually migrate to the platform.
ZDNet.com.au has also been informed by many early adopters that they have had positive experiences with Windows 7 after testing it on their home PCs in preparation for upgrading to the platform from Vista or XP installations.
Microsoft Australia could not confirm at this stage what upgrade programs would be available to locals. However, globally Microsoft has confirmed, without giving details, that it plans to offer some sort of "technology guarantee" giving those who buy Vista machines close to the Windows 7 launch a free or discounted copy of the new operating system.
As with past similar programs, details on pricing will be up to individual computer makers, although Microsoft did say the upgrade program will apply to Vista Home Premium and higher-priced editions (meaning not Windows Vista Basic).
The tech guarantee program is not beginning immediately, but Microsoft did raise the possibility it will offer some sort of lower-cost upgrade to those who are already using Windows Vista.
Renai LeMay of ZDNet Australia reported from Sydney. CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed to this article.