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Windows 7 released to computer makers

SAN FRANCISCO, July 23 – Microsoft on Wednesday declared its next-generation Windows 7 operating system ready for delivery to computer makers.

A Windows 7 release-to-manufacturers (RTM) is meant to allow time for the software to be built into computers and other "smart" hardware to be available when Microsoft\’s latest operating system debuts publicly on October 22.

"Today after all the validation checks were met, we signed off and declared build 7600 as RTM," Brandon LeBlanc of the Windows Team said in a message posted Wednesday at Microsoft\’s official website.

"Not only is RTM an important milestone for us, it\’s also an important milestone for our partners."

Microsoft put Windows 7 through myriad quality tests and incorporated feedback from partners and test users before approving it for release to computer makers, according to LeBlanc.

"Our customers told us what they want (and expect) and we defined those specific experiences and then built features to support them," LeBlanc wrote.

"Windows 7 today runs great on the broadest array of hardware types ranging from netbooks to high-end gaming machines."

Windows 7 code will be delivered to hardware makers within the next few days, according to Microsoft.

More than 10 million people joined in testing Windows 7 software in a voluntary test program, according to Microsoft.

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"That\’s a lot of people opting in to help us make Windows 7 a solid release," LeBlanc noted.

"Our engineers were guided by customer feedback all the way to RTM."

In June, Microsoft announced prices for Windows 7 and offered free upgrades to buyers of personal computers before the new operating system hits the stores in October.

Brad Brooks, corporate vice president for Windows consumer marketing, said Microsoft will offer free upgrades to Window 7 to people who buy Vista-equipped PCs before the release date of Windows 7.

Vista is Microsoft\’s much-criticized previous operating system and the Redmond, Washington-based software giant is hoping that Windows 7 will help erase bad memories of Vista in the minds of consumers.

Brooks said in a video released by Microsoft that the free upgrades would apply to people who purchase PCs running Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate.

The offer of free upgrades is seen as an attempt to prevent people from putting off a decision to purchase a PC until October. An estimated 90 percent of the world\’s PCs run on Windows.

Microsoft said Windows 7 will be first available on October 22 in English, Spanish, Japanese, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, and Chinese.

It will be available on October 31 in 21 other languages: Turkish, Czech, Portuguese, Hungarian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Greek, Ukrainian, Romanian, Arabic, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Estonian, Slovenian, Hebrew, Thai, Croatian, Serbian Latin, and Latvian.

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Because of a European Commission anti-trust inquiry, the Windows 7 version going on sale in Europe will not include Internet Explorer, Microsoft\’s Web browser.

Microsoft announced earlier this month that it had decided to remove the Web browser because of the regulatory wrangling.

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