Microsoft: a "Good Enough" Windows 7 Beta with Room for Refinement

Microsoft is in no rush to deliver the first beta of Windows 7. Even according to the official time table for the delivery of Windows Vista's successor, the Redmond company is just a few months short of the final deadline, and yet there is no Beta on the immediate horizon. This, even if at the end of 2007, Windows 7 Milestone 1 was offered for testing to the software giant's closest partners, as well as antitrust regulators. However, the first contours of the Windows 7 Beta are beginning to emerge, with Microsoft cranking up a notch the references to a development build beyond Alpha and Milestone releases.

"We’re going to deliver a Beta that is good enough to experience and leaves us enough time to address areas where we need more refinement," revealed Mike Angiulo, Windows PC Ecosystem and Planning team lead. The Windows 7 Beta reference comes after the August availability of Windows 7 Client drivers and updates going live on the Microsoft Update Catalog. In fact, at the end of the past month, Microsoft was gearing up to start publishing the first Windows 7 beta drivers and updates.

"We work to find the best possible timing for sharing the product and gathering final feedback. If we release it too early it’s usually not in any shape to evaluate, especially with respect to performance, security, compatibility and other critical fundamentals. If we release too late we can’t actually take any of the feedback you give us, and I can’t think of a worse recipe for customer satisfaction than to ask for feedback which gets systematically ignored. I was just looking at another software "feedback" site where a bunch of the comments just asked the company to "please read this site!"," Angiulo added.

The fact of the matter is that all the signs coming from Microsoft point to an upcoming availability of a Windows 7 Beta release. The Redmond company has been shy of confirming anything official yet, and probably will hold all details under a sealed lid for quite some time. There are a variety of events and conferences at the end of the year, in the October-November timeframe with Windows 7 set to take center stage including the Professional Developer Conference (PDC) 2008, Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2008, as well as TechEd EMEA 2008. Delivering Windows 7 Beta in October – November 2008 will still give Microsoft approximately a year of development just for the Beta stage.
By Marius Oiaga

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