Microsoft will put Windows 7 on store shelves and computer makers will have systems ready to sell with Vista's successor on Oct. 22, the company confirmed today.
Microsoft will also offer discounted or free upgrades to Windows 7 to users who buy PCs in the months leading up to the operating system's launch in a program dubbed "Windows Upgrade Option," a company spokeswoman said Tuesday. Although the name is new, the program had been reported as early as January, when a usually-reliable Web site leaked information about the deal, including its July 1 kick-off.
Until today, Microsoft had been coy about naming a release date for Windows 7, although it edged toward a timetable last month. Both Bill Veghte, the senior vice president who runs the Windows Business unit, and Steven Sinofsky, the senior vice president of the Windows engineering group, said then that Windows 7 was on track for the holiday selling season, and would make the final milestone -- called "release to manufacturing," or RTM -- in mid-August. Today, however, other company spokespersons said Microsoft is shooting for RTM by the end of July.
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