Microsoft late on Monday denied that it has finished Windows 7, quashing rumors that the company was about to declare "release to manufacturing," or RTM.
"We are close, but have not yet signed off on Windows 7," said company spokesman Brandon LeBlanc on the Windows blog Monday night. "As previously stated, we expect Windows 7 to RTM in the 2nd half of July."
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LeBlanc echoed a comment made by Bill Veghte, Microsoft's senior vice president for Windows business, in a presentation at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) earlier today. Although Veghte did not reference last week's reports that claimed RTM was imminent, he did say that Windows 7 would wrap up in the last two weeks of this month.
LeBlanc cautioned users against downloading in-progress builds that have leaked to file-sharing sites. "There are many bogus copies of Windows 7 floating around the Internet. More often than not, they contain a rather nice malware payload," he said. In May, people who downloaded pirated copies of Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) just hours before Microsoft released the preview reported that the build was infected with a Trojan horse.
LeBlanc also provided a few details, albeit at times vague, about when users will get their hands on Windows 7 after Microsoft does declare the code finished.
TechNet and MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network) subscribers, who in the past have gotten RTM builds almost immediately, will be able to download Windows 7 from their respective services "a few weeks after we announce RTM," LeBlanc said.
The delay may prompt resistance. When Microsoft initially withheld Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) from TechNet and MSDN subscribers in early 2008, they rebelled, calling the decision "boneheaded" and "the lamest since Microsoft Bob," the latter a reference to a ridiculed interface that debuted in 1995.
As Veghte noted Monday morning at WPC, Sept. 1 is the date when Windows 7 will be available to volume licensing customers. All others, including consumers and businesses without a licensing plan, will have to wait until the Oct. 22 launch date, excepting any trafficking at file-sharing sites.