There was some speculation earlier this week that Microsoft would unveil the next version of Windows as soon as 2009 but the firm today said that Windows 7 won't be released until January 2010:
"We are currently in the planning stages for Windows 7 and development is scoped to three years from Windows Vista consumer" general availability, a Microsoft spokesman said in an e-mail Friday to InformationWeek.
Windows Vista was released to consumers in late January 2007. That means Windows 7 would not be released until January 2010, according to Microsoft's statement.
Speaking at a seminar on corporate philanthropy last week in Miami, Gates said his company might ship a new version of its Windows operating system as soon as 2009.
The news agency Reuters quoted Gates as saying that Windows 7 may be released "sometime in the next year or so." That would put the software ahead of the three-year cycle that Microsoft normally works on for OS releases.
Microsoft said Gates may have been referring to trial versions of Windows 7. "As is standard with the release of a new product, we will be releasing early builds of Windows 7 prior to its general availability as a means to gain tester feedback," the spokesman said.