Windows 7 has been released to manufacturing and TechNet and MSDN subscribers will be able to get it on 6 August. The company also confirmed the rumours surrounding the Family Pack edition
of Windows 7 which will cater for users with up to three PCs in their homes.
Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc said last night
that the OS has been released to manufacturing (RTM) and he also confirmed the availability dates for subscribers to the software giant's numerous programmes.
Developers and IT professionals with Microsoft Connect, MSDN and TechNet subscriptions will get the final version of the OS on 6 August, while businesses with Volume Licence agreements will be given Windows 7 a day later. Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified Members will be able to download the RTM on 16 August, while Action Pack subscribers will get it another week later on 23 August.
Sadly, beta testers have been left out in the dark. In the past, Microsoft has rewarded testers who have reported a certain number of bugs with a free copy of Windows. With Windows 7, LeBlanc said that the pre-order scheme "was done with our beta testers in mind," but the offer was open to everyone and not just to beta testers who reported bugs.
LeBlanc did point out that the Release Candidate scheme will continue running until 1 June, although the OS will shut down every two hours from the beginning of March.
After LeBlanc confirmed the existence of a Family Pack, Microsoft UK later said that it wasn't sure whether the Family Pack would make it to the UK because of its ongoing feud with EU antitrust regulators, which means it is unlikely to offer upgrade editions of Windows 7 in Europe until 2010 at the earliest.
"I can't confirm whether we'll make that [Family Pack] available in the UK," said John Curran, director of the Windows Client Group, in an interview with PC Pro
. "It was designed as an upgrade SKU."
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