Update 4:10 p.m., with additional comments from CEO Steve Ballmer.
Windows unit head Bill Veghte said on Thursday that Windows 7 development remains on track.
The company has officially said it would ship by January 2010, but top executives have also said from time to time that it would be done by the end of 2009.
"The product is tracking very, very well," Veghte said. "We are committed and looking good, relative to our commitment--(shipping Windows 7) three years from general availability of Windows Vista."
Microsoft has released few details on the product, largely assuring customers that it would be making big architectural changes and that it will have a new multitouch user interface.
Most of Veghte's talk, as expected, was on Windows Vista and how Microsoft sees a large perception gap. Veghte showed the Mojave Project, first detailed here, in which users predisposed against Vista reacted favorably when shown Vista when it was presented under the guise of being a new version of Windows, code-named Mojave.
Even outside focus groups, Veghte said that not only are customers buying the operating system, but more are liking it, pointing to recent internal figures showing that 89 percent of users said they were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the product. Some 83 percent said they would recommend Vista to a friend or family member, Veghte said.
He also demoed Internet Explorer 8, which he said would be released in final form later this year. An early beta was shown off at the Mix '08 trade show in the spring.
Update: In the closing Q and A session, CEO Steve Ballmer was asked what Windows 7 would look like, but declined to offer any new details saying to do so would be a "no-win" situation.
"It's going to look great; It's going to be quite compatible," he said, to some laughter. "If I wanted to start selling Windows 7 today, we'd start selling windows 7 today. Then you'd complain."
He did reiterate what has already been said, saying that Windows 7 is designed to avoid making big changes. "The design point is compatible form the get-go in large measure," he said.