On the same day that Microsoft released the Release Candidate (RC) of Windows 7 to TechNet and MSDN users, computer manufacturer Acer gave us a date for the release of the product, at least in a pre-loaded (on PCs) manner: Oct. 23rd.
On Thursday, Acer told Pocket-lint
that Windows 7 will be available pre-loaded on their new all-in-one Z5600 PC from October 23, 2009. Originally, Microsoft had targeted the end of January, 2010 as the release date for Windows 7, but lack of adoption of Windows Vista forced them to acknowledge (silently, however) that Windows Vista was a failure, and move to accelerate the Windows 7 release.
However, Acer said that the upgrade period for the product, whereby anyone who bought a PC with Windows Vista would get a free upgrade, would only be 30 days.
"October 23rd is the date the Windows 7 will be available. There is a 30 day upgrade time so that customers don't wait to buy a new computer, so if you buy during that 30 day period, you'll get a free upgrade to Windows 7."
TechARP, which has been right a lot lately on dates regarding releases of various Windows versions and service packs, notes
that the "Windows 7 Upgrade Program" will run from June 26, 2009, which makes a lot more sense. Otherwise, you're liable to see a real downturn on sales of PCs until the Upgrade Program kicks in.
It's possible, however, that Acer's statement only applies to free upgrades, and that perhaps those buying PCs earlier will pay nominal fees to get an upgrade.
It's also notable that Acer says Oct. 23 is when the OS will ship pre-installed; that doesn't necessarily
mean you will be able to buy stand-alone versions of Windows 7 at retailers at that time.