The fully-fledged Beta for Windows 7 could be made available for download as soon as January 5, 2009.
Microsoft certainly confirmed that it was in the final stages of cooking the Beta build of Windows 7, but it has not managed, so far, to point to an actual deadline for the delivery of the platform's next development milestone. However, Microsoft is now offering official confirmation that Windows 7 Beta downloads will be offered via the January 2009 Quarterly Update Kit through the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS), which will start being distributed on January 5.
“Shipping starts January 5, 2009, depending on region, and continues with the first month of each subsequent quarter (January, April, July, and October). Allow 15 to 30 business days to receive your kit. If you don’t receive it by the end of the shipping month, contact your nearest Regional Service Center,” Microsoft revealed.
According to Microsoft Evangelist Keith Combs, Windows 7 Beta 1 is just around the corner, with the Redmond company planning to start shipping DVDs with the bits as early as January 13, 2009, to all participants of the MSDN Developer Conferences. Nevertheless, the software giant intends at the same time, to include Windows 7 Beta within the January 2009 Quarterly Update Kit.
“January 2009 Kit Contents: The January 2009 Quarterly Update Kit includes Windows 7 Beta, Microsoft Virtual PC 2007, Windows Small Business Server 2008 Standard Edition, Windows Essential Business Server 2008 Standard Edition, Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008, Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager 2007 SP1, and Microsoft System Center Essentials 2007 SP1. Refer to the table below for product and license details,” Microsoft added. (emphasis added)
The Redmond company indicated that although Windows 7 Beta would be accessible through the January 2009 Quarterly Update Kit, Microsoft Action Pack subscribers would have to download the development milestone. Yet, with the first January 2009 package planned for shipping as of January 5, it is clear that very early next year Microsoft will start offering Windows 7 Beta 1 for download. The company has already started sending out invitations for testers to participate to the Beta program for Windows 7 and Windows 7 Server (Windows Server 2008 R2).
As far as MAPS is concerned, “the Microsoft Partner Program and the Action Pack are designed for companies whose primary function is to sell, service, support, or build solutions on the Microsoft platform, as well as to provide solutions based on Microsoft products and technologies to independent third-party customers,” the company stated.