If there were a steeple on Microsoft’s Redmond campus, the bells would be ringing like mad this afternoon.
The company just announced that it has finished Windows 7, the latest version of the flagship operating system that’s the foundation of Microsoft’s business.
Chief Executive Steve Ballmer delivered the news at a conference in Atlanta, while the Windows President Steven Sinofsky in Redmond posted details on his team’s blog today.
An excerpt from that post:
We continue to be overwhelmed at the community’s response to Windows 7 and it has been an extremely rewarding experience to witness. We hope the enthusiasm will continue to grow even more as our partners build amazing experiences with their products and Windows 7.
A lot is riding on Windows 7.
Microsoft’s difficulty producing Windows Vista, and Vista’s underwhelming performance, raised questions about Microsoft’s ability to regularly improve and refresh the horribly complex operating system powering most of the world’s computers.
Vista’s problems not only tarnished Microsoft’s engineering reputation, but they also opened the door for competitors such as new versions of Linux and Apple, which had a resurgence during the Vista era, now coming to a close.
Early reviews of Windows 7 are glowing, and now the software has been completed on time. Technically, Microsoft is releasing the software to manufacturing.
That means a complete version is being provided to PC makers within a few days, destined for new computers to go on sale in the coming months. Software developers and big companies that buy Windows in bulk can download copies in the first weeks of August.
For the Puget Sound region, Microsoft’s success is a refreshing breeze through the haze surrounding the 787. Boeing seems to be having its Vista moment as the engineers scramble to fix significant flaws keeping its new flagship on the ground.
One big difference: More than 10 million people have already been testing early versions of Windows 7 and providing feedback, helping Microsoft refine the product it’s releasing today.
The company also said Windows Server 2008 R2 code is also being released to manufacturing.