A new link on Microsoft’s Windows 7 home page has set off another round of speculation about when the company plans to release a more complete test version of its forthcoming operating system, and, by extension, whether Windows 7 would be released in time for the 2009 holidays, as some have speculated.
(Update, 2:35 p.m.: The link has disappeared. I’ve asked Microsoft’s PR firm for an explanation. … Looks like the posting was in error. Via a company spokeswoman at 2:43 p.m.: “As we said at PDC, we expect to deliver beta in early 2009 and we continue to be on track to deliver against that development milestone.”)
The “Download the Windows 7 Beta” link appeared earlier today — according to Neowin, which appears to have spotted it first — but the link doesn’t lead to anything of the sort as of mid-morning.
Neowin’s Tom Warren notes that Microsoft could be revving up its servers right now to deliver a test version of Windows 7 before Christmas — even if that was the plan, I wonder if the winter weather that’s keeping much of Seattle and Redmond at home put a wrench in the works. (Officially, the company is open today, although the Connector shuttle service is not, and employees are told to use their best judgment about coming in, a spokeswoman said via e-mail.)
Mary Jo Foley reported yesterday on rumors that Microsoft completed an internal sign-off on Windows 7 Beta a week ago, and that some testers were expecting a pre-Christmas release, at least to a select group.
Warren also points out that “[i]t’s entirely possible that once the page is live it will simply be a sign up page to register your interest.” That’s what Windows expert Ed Bott thinks.
Microsoft’s official schedule is a public beta in early 2009 en route to public availability of Windows 7 no later than January 2010. CEO Steve Ballmer takes center stage at the Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 7, and many are expecting a consumer-focused unveiling of the new operating system.
Hat-tip to TechFlash on this story.