In a surprise turn around, Microsoft announced today that Windows 7 technical testers will be receiving a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate. In recent weeks Microsoft has faced angry reactions from bloggers and beta testers when they originally announced the testers 'thanks' was the discounted pre-order offer.
Blogger Paul Thurrot claimed: "the painful thing here, for beta testers, is that they've been screwed" which demonstrated the reaction to the previous announcements.
In a blog posting at Microsoft's Windows Team Blog, Brandon LeBlanc confirmed: "to show our appreciation, members of the invitation-only Windows 7 Technical Beta Program will be eligible for a free, final copy of Windows 7 Ultimate." All current members of the English technical and international mini-beta programs are eligible for a full non-upgrade copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. Testers can get access to their copy in one of two ways:
* Download a copy and product key via Microsoft connect, English downloads will be available August 6th and other languages will follow as they become available.
* Boxed retail copies are available in a limited amount and are being offered on a first come, first served basis. These copies will not be ready until October 22nd or later.
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley recently highlighted the testing process and how the focus has been taken away from Microsoft's beta testers. Testers are no longer held in such high esteem it seems as Microsoft only supplied the same 2 public beta builds this time around. However, it's good to see Microsoft making a u-turn and admitting they were wrong to not provide a thank you to beta testers. Hopefully with Windows 8 Microsoft will focus on beta testers once again.