Windows 7 Officially Launches, Ships Midnight Tonight.

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Windows 7 Launch Event London

I attended the official launch event for Microsoft’s very much anticipated Windows 7 in London today, ahead of the worldwide release midnight tonight. Apart from being touchscreen-capable, the OS includes a host of new features designed to improve performance, battery life, responsiveness, start-up times and generally simplify everyday tasks.

According to Microsoft, the Windows 7 pre-orders alone (which have been available for just over 3 months in the UK, longer in the States) have outstripped the whole first year’s worth of sales for the company’s previous and rather unpopular Windows Vista OS.

Microsoft claims the sales boost on Windows 7 is largely due to the product selling itself through positive word-of-mouth and discussion in the blogosphere, unlike its predecessor which required a massive $300 million marketing push to try and reverse negative sentiment.


Featuring lots of little touches such as HomeGroup – which lets you easily connect other Win 7 PC’s at home for file or printer sharing and Snap – which makes side-by-side comparison of two documents a breeze, Windows 7 also includes a completely redesigned Taskbar that aims for greater intuitiveness and less clutter.

Shipping midnight tonight, Microsoft’s Windows 7 is available from and in a range of upgrade and full version flavors including Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate Editions starting at $120 and £80 respectively.

Note: For an in-depth look at what’s new in Windows 7, I’ve also uploaded the Final Product Guide (8MB PDF).

A special thanks to Leah and Joe from 3 Monkeys for the invite and to Microsoft for the presentation.


Press release:

Microsoft Simplifies the PC with Windows 7
New PC Operating System Available Worldwide

London, UK — 22 October, 2009 — Today Microsoft Corp. announced the worldwide availability of its new Windows 7 operating system. Windows 7 delivers on a simple premise: make it easier for people to do the things they want on a PC. The new operating system offers a streamlined user interface and significant new features that make everyday tasks easier and allow people to get the most out of computers of all styles and sizes.
“The launch of Windows 7 marks the start of an exciting new era for PC users in the UK,” said Ashley Highfield, MD and VP of Consumer and Online, Microsoft UK. “Windows 7 brings to consumers more choice and value than any previous Microsoft operating system. We’ve worked with partners and consumers alike to deliver an improved user experience with enhanced performance and functionality that promote ease and simplicity in everyday tasks.”
Building Windows 7 has been a collaborative process from the beginning, with Microsoft’s engineers and designers working with customers and partners to build an operating system that delivers on the vision of the PC, simplified.
“The development of Windows 7 was a huge collaborative project that involved listening to the feedback from millions of people around the world,” said Leila Martine, Windows Consumer Business Group Lead, Microsoft UK. “We are grateful to all the customers, partners and developers who helped make Windows 7 what we believe is the best Microsoft operating system ever.”

On Sale Worldwide Today
The global availability of Windows 7 is joined by an unprecedented array of new PCs and software programs. With more PC options available for customers today at a wide range of price points starting from under £230, customers can choose the PC that fits their personality, style, and needs: from netbooks and ultra-thin notebooks, to highly interactive multi-touch laptops and all-in-one desktops as well as water-cooled gaming machines. For information on product offers, visit .

Pricing details:
Windows 7 Upgrade version
Windows 7 Home Premium: £79.99 until 31 December, £99.99 thereafter
Windows 7 Professional: £189.99
Windows 7 Ultimate: £199.99

Windows 7 Full version
Windows 7 Home Premium: £149.99
Windows 7 Professional: £219.99
Windows 7 Ultimate: £229.99

Windows 7 Family Pack (allowing for installation of the same copy of Windows 7 Home Premium on up to three PCs)
£149.99 (N.B. the Family Pack will be available in limited quantities)
Windows 7 Student offer (Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade OR Windows 7 Professional Upgrade)
£30 each. NB – For those students requiring the full packaged product (FPP) they can opt to receive a boxed version, by post, for an additional cost of £9

*Estimated retail price based on promotional prices as of 22 October 2009 GA in the United Kingdom, actual retail prices may vary by retailer.

Sky Player with Windows 7
Sky’s online TV service, Sky Player, is to be added to Windows Media Center in Windows 7 for UK customers, creating a new and exciting way to watch live and on-demand TV from Sky on a PC. With the simple addition of an inexpensive TV tuner, Windows 7 can function like a Digital Video Recorder (DVR), so audiences can also watch and record broadcast TV on their PC (UK TV License may be required for certain functionality). Sky Player currently has 24 live streaming TV channels and provides a comprehensive on-demand library which includes 500 movies to download at anytime from Sky Movies and thousands of programmes spanning entertainment, sport documentaries, kids, culture and news. For existing Sky TV customers, Sky Player in Windows 7 offers another way to view their Sky TV, in addition to their set top box. For new customers, Sky Player in Windows 7 will offer a wide range of live channels and on-demand content via a number of different packages through a monthly subscription. Windows Media Center is included in Windows 7 Home Premium, Ultimate, Professional and Enterprise.
Griff Parry, Director of On Demand, BSkyB comments, “Sky Player in Windows 7 offers yet another innovative and attractive way through which to access a wide range of live and on-demand TV.  Whether it’s an existing customer looking to get even more from their Sky subscription, or someone connecting with Sky for the first time through their PC, everyone can enjoy a high-quality online TV experience through Windows 7.”

Simplifying the PC
Over the past 18 months, feedback from more than a billion opt-in customer sessions and eight million beta testers validated Microsoft’s research on how to simplify everyday tasks. Here are a few of the many ways you’ll experience a more simplified PC with Windows 7:

Simplifies everyday tasks
• Taskbar: The go-to spot for launching programs and switching windows. The taskbar has been completely redesigned to help you work smarter, cut clutter, and get more done, with features like thumbnail previews of webpages, documents and—even running video.
• HomeGroup: Easily share your files and printers with other Windows 7 PCs in your home.
• DeviceStage: Shows you the status of all your connected devices such as cameras and mobile phones and makes it easier to synchronise and manage them.
• Photos and Videos: Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Movie Maker offer customers great free options to edit photos, videos, and easily share with loved ones.
• Snap: Drag an open window to your screen’s border to automatically re-size it. Snap two different windows to the left and right borders for a perfect comparison.
• Shake: Click a window pane and shake your mouse to minimise all other open windows. Shake the pane again to restore the windows to their original sizes.
• Internet Explorer 8: Our fastest, easiest, and safest browser ever. Smart new features like Instant Search, Accelerators, and Web Slices help you get more out of the Web.

Works the way you want
• Faster On, Faster Off: Every Windows 7 user will benefit from the focus on underlying performance, faster startup, resuming and shut down time, and enhanced power management.
• Mobile Made Easier: All your mobile computing settings are in one place with the Windows Mobility Center.
• Protecting your PC: Safeguarding the data on your PC is easier with advanced backup capabilities and the free Microsoft Security Essentials download to protect you against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

Makes new things possible
• Windows Touch: Interact with your PC with a touch-screen monitor, using your fingers and multi-touch gestures.
• PlayTo: Stream your digital music, videos, and photos to other PCs or devices such as your Xbox 360 connected to your TV.
• Internet TV: New content providers and an improved interface make it even easier to watch TV on your PC.
• Rich Gaming and Graphics: Windows 7 includes performance enhancements that take power gaming and entertainment to a new level, with 64-bit support and DirectX11 graphics.
• Location-Aware Printing – Your documents are sent to the right printer whether it’s at home or at the office. And with Offline Files you can work offline and automatically synchronise between a PC and documents on your office network.

Partners Rally Around Windows 7
Along with increased customer involvement, Microsoft’s partners had a closer, more involved role in the product vision and planning process with Windows 7. The collaborative approach to engaging partners to inform development efforts has resulted in improved performance for PCs as well as compatibility with a broad range of software and hardware across the Windows ecosystem. More than 16,000 software and hardware companies are building solutions on Windows 7 and over 44,000 developers are enrolled in the Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program. Together, these partners are developing hardware, software and services capable of reaching more than a billion PCs around the world.

About Microsoft:

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Comments (2 Responses):

Cool article, was curious if you would allow me to link to it in a blog post i am currently typing for my own site? Thanks Libby Fox

Thanks, Libby. Feel free to link as much as you like – there’s no problems.

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