22 October 2009 is Microsoft's date with history, the day the company will introduce Windows 7, the next version of Windows, which could make or break the company's lucrative operating system.
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Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft's OEM Division corporate vice president, said the company was confident it would deliver Windows 7 on 22 October. He also said Windows Server 2008 R2 would be available in July 2009.
Guggenheimer said. "We announce each milestone once we're confident of where we are in the development cycle and that it is ready to be shared with customers and partners. We've received great feedback from our partners, who are looking forward to offering Windows 7 to their customers in time for the holidays."
The operating system will be available as an upgrade for users who buy Windows Vista PCs before the launch.
Microsoft is hoping businesses that were unhappy with their existing applications being incompatible with Windows Vista, will move to Windows 7, which should be more compatible. Microsoft has developed a Windows XP virtualisation technology called XP Mode, that will allow users to continue running XP applications on Windows 7, something that was not possible under Vista.
Users will also be able to run federated searches across their local hard discs, corporate intranet and the internet.
Other enterprise features include Direct Access, which, Microsoft says, will allow users to work from outside the company firewall without requiring virtual private network access.