Who Leaked Windows 7?

News Commentary. BitTorrent brought the Christmas present Santa didn't: Leaked build of Windows 7, whose official Beta 1 release is perhaps days away. Was this a craftily timed Microsoft marketing leak?

I sure as hell think so. It's certainly what I would do if I worked at Microsoft on Windows evangelism. The timing is perfect, from a marketing perspective. The leaked build hit BitTorrent sometime on Saturday, right after Christmas when the Windows geeks had nothing better to do and bloggers and journalists had nothing better to write about. The leaked build is designated "7000," which strongly suggests that the code is the same as forthcoming Beta 1, or close to it.

The slowest news week of the year is going on right now. Everybody and anybody is writing year-end reviews and making stupid predictions about 2009. It's not because they care so much about the past or the future. They don't have much to write about now because most tech companies are closed or running minimal staffs. Meanwhile, the big announcements are being saved for Macworld Expo (Jan. 5-9) and the Consumer Electronics Show (Jan. 8-11).

What perfect timing to create buzz for Seven. Windows beta leaks used to be fairly common, but Microsoft has clamped down on them under the tenure of Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group. This leak is surprising because of Steven's record managing Office development: Few leaks. Heck, were there any?

Something else: Microsoft doesn't seem all the rattled by the leak. That reaction, or lack of it, is inconsistent with Steven's past no-leak management style. I called Microsoft's PR agency for confirmation and got this statement in response: "It is part of our normal testing process for testers to receive regular builds; however, the Windows 7 public beta is still expected in early 2009."

That statement could be construed as meaning the leak came from outside Microsoft. It's unusual for a Microsoft statement to make such a veiled accusation. But it makes sense as deflection from the real source, meaning Microsoft.

I'm not being critical here, as some Microsoft Watch commenters will surely claim. It's rather smart marketing. Microsoft fills a big news void with something bloggers and journalists will write about. The suspense of stealth downloads from torrents and races to post the best screenshots first make the Windows 7 leak buzz all the more exciting. For other people, there is delight in seeing Microsoft squirm because Seven leaked early. Not that I see much squirming going on.

If Microsoft didn't leak the build, forshame! If this is a real leak, how undeserving is Microsoft of the timing. Because the marketing benefits are immeasurable, given how much buzz there is out there. Google news search shows a couple hundred stories related to Windows 7 Beta 1. If someone on Steven's team didn't leak this Seven build, they should have.

Source : microsoft-watch.com

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