SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said
Friday a version of its long awaited Windows 7 operating
system will be made available from next week.
The version, known as a 'release candidate', or RC,
essentially means the world's largest software company is in
the final stages of completing the operating system, the
successor to the unpopular Windows Vista.
Microsoft said the RC will be available for download by
program developers and IT professionals subscribing to the MSDN
and TechNet networks on April 30 and available more broadly on
The company has still not said when the finished version
would begin to be installed on PCs or available to buy in
shops, but the company's chief financial officer said on
Thursday it could be as early as July.
That would allow Microsoft to capitalize on back-to-school
sales and set it up for a strong holiday shopping season.
Microsoft's operating systems, installed on the vast
majority of the world's PCs, are still the backbone of the
company, providing more than half of its $4.4 billion profit
Vista, launched to the public in 2007, was incompatible
with some low-power machines and perceived by many to be too
complicated. Rival Apple Inc ridiculed Microsoft's
problems with the system in a series of popular TV ads.
Windows 7, which has been getting good reviews in limited
public tests over the last few months, is much cleaner looking
and features an array of new touch-screen functions. Microsoft
says it will also interact better with digital cameras and
(Reporting by Bill Rigby, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)
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