Reports: Windows 7 heads to RTM July 13

MSDN, TechNet subscribers likely to get final code almost immediately

Microsoft will finish Windows 7 a week from today and declare the operating system ready for "release to manufacturing," several Web sites have reported.

According to GeekSmack.net, Microsoft will declare Windows 7 completed on July 13, the opening day of the company's annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). "Microsoft is still in the process of testing and choosing from the RTM candidate builds," GeekSmack.net added.

Release to manufacturing, or RTM, is Microsoft's term for the stage where development has been completed and the product moves into duplication and distribution.

GeekSmack.net isn't the only site to peg July 13 as Windows 7's RTM date. TechARP.com, which has a solid track record in leaking Microsoft plans, said two weeks ago that the company would announce RTM on that date.

Although Microsoft has said it will start selling Windows 7 on Oct. 22, it hasn't nailed down the RTM, saying only that work would wrap up by the end of this month.

If Microsoft follows past practice, it will probably offer Windows 7's final code to paying subscribers of its MSDN and TechNet services on July 13 or shortly after. In 2006 Microsoft announced Vista's RTM on Nov. 8, and posted downloads to subscribers on Nov. 16. But it's unlikely Microsoft will withhold Windows 7 from MSDN and TechNet for long; when it tried to do that in early 2008 with Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1), subscribers revolted, calling the decision "boneheaded" and "the lamest since Microsoft Bob," the latter a reference to a ridiculed interface that debuted in 1995.

Several Microsoft executives will handle the WPC keynote address on the morning of July 13, including Bill Veghte, the senior vice president responsible for the Windows 7 client business. Veghte has been blogging frequently about Windows 7 on such topics as pricing, which he revealed late last month, as well as thefree upgrade program that also kicked off June 26.

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