Microsoft has announced that a release candidate version of Windows 7 (a version with potential to be the final product) will be released to developers via MSDN and TechNet networks on April 30th, and more publicly on May 5th.
Windows 7, which was released as a semi-public beta in January, has initially been well received and appears to have significant performance improvements over Windows Vista. Along with a shorter boot time, Windows 7 will offer better driver support, improved graphical and productivity features, and a more intelligent version of UAC.
Despite Vista’s shortcomings, the immaturity of 3rd-party hardware drivers at launch was one of the biggest contributing factors to its unpopularity. If Microsoft can ensure better driver support when Windows 7 is released, they should be able to avoid the negative stereotypes that are still plaguing the company.
Microsoft has not officially announced a release date for Windows 7 yet, but Microsoft’s chief financial officer Chris Liddell says it may be as early as July 2009.
Update 04/30/09: Microsoft has released Windows 7 RC1 to TechNet and MSDN subscribers. [via Microsoft PressPass]
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