Windows RC1 is expected to be released during the first week in May. Itís Build 7100 although rumor has it that there are later build on torrents. TechNet subscribers get an early shot at the download.
The release timing of RC1 (there most likely will not be an RC2) makes sense as on this past Thursday, Microsoft announced its financial results for the quarter ending on March 31, 2009 dropped by 32% when compared to last year. This represented the first time in the company's 23 year public stock history that its revenue fell.
So if RC1 is released about 4 months after the public beta in January then you can expect the Release To Manufacturing (RTM build) date to be in the September time frame. This would give PC Manufactures like Dell, HP, Compact, Acer, Gateway and others the time they need to have a new product line of Windows 7 computers on sale for the Christmas buying season. A win win situation for Microsoft, the PC manufactures and stores. The added sales just might help Microsoft boost earnings for the current fiscal year.
Now if Microsoft is smart they will provide consumerís who want to upgrade their PC from XP or Vista to Windows 7 some real incentives like they did many years ago with Windows 95. Hold midnight sales specials, bundled packages with additional software and or hardware inside the box only available during holiday shopping season.
Letís face it they goofed badly by releasing Vista in October to Corporate customers only and to the general public in January of the next year. Bad, very bad timing as the average buyer is just getting the bad news in his or her credit card bill from all that holiday spending and is in no mood to hit the card again. As for corporations, there are a large number of businesses both small and large that are still using Windows XP and never moved to Vista. So Microsoft, donít count on them to bail you out when you release Windows 7.