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By | Kelly Fiveash 7th April 2008 15:42

Gates teases bankers with Windows 7 dates

There's something big over the horizon, boys

Bill Gates has dropped the biggest hint yet that Microsoft’s successor to its unloved operating system Windows Vista could arrive around the middle of 2009 – ahead of the firm’s original roadmap.

According to reports, the Microsoft head honcho said at a meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank on Friday that Windows 7 could be released “sometime in the next year or so”.

There’s already been plenty of rumours suggesting that Microsoft, in the face of harsh criticism and sluggish take-up of Vista, could deliver its spanky new OS as early as the second half of 2009.

Indeed, the firm refused to spike speculation back in January that the race was on to parachute in Windows 7 ahead of the earmarked 2010 release date.

And the partyline remains the same - the new version is scheduled to arrive three years after Vista’s mass release to customers in January 2007. Business customers got the OS, and Office 2007, in November 2006.

Of course, given Microsoft’s track record on setting release dates, it’s fair to say that no one is truly any the wiser on when Windows 7 will finally arrive to drown out its unruly older brother, Vista.

Perhaps the best hint so far came early last month when a US court-mandated technical committee said that Microsoft had sent an early test copy of its next OS to the group.

It said it was scrutinising Windows 7 code to see if it violates a 2002 federal anti-trust settlement, which required Microsoft to make its products interoperable with those created by its competitors. ®

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