Time to go '"Yay!" then "Boo!"...
Microsoft communications manager Brandon LeBlanc has announced the company has performed a U-turn (it is getting good at this after the browser rethink) and will be giving out free copies of Windows 7 Ultimate to Technical Beta testers.
"Last week, I blogged that members of the Windows Technical Beta Program would not be receiving a complimentary copy of Windows 7. Normally I hate to be wrong but in this case, I'm stoked that I am. 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."
Yay? No, here's the Boo! part: users who tested the public Beta or Release Candidate of Windows 7 are exempt. These free copies are only for those testers who were invited into the Technical Beta programme and would have access to either MSDN or TechNet. Those who do quality will get full editions only and a choice to download the OS or fight over limited boxed stock. Downloads will be available from 6 August and physical copies on the global day of release: 22 October.
So near and yet so far...
In related news Microsoft Entertainment and Devices division head Robbie Bach has admitted Windows Mobile had "a challenging year" and while stating "Our experiences are very good in the business space" confirmed what everyone knew saying consumer "experiences are not as rich as they should be".
Have they learnt? Well, "We're excited about Windows Mobile 6.5" he concluded. I'm not, Windows Mobile 7 is where the real do or die stage is for Microsoft and I expect it to pull out all the stops.
Finally, you may come across a curious 'revelation' this week that Microsoft will be rebranding Windows Mobile at 'Windows Phone'. It's hardly news, we revealed this back in mid February but it has forced Microsoft to clarify its murky strategy with both the Windows Mobile and Windows Phone names still being thrown around liberally.
In short: Windows Mobile remains as Windows Mobile, Windows Phone will refer to the Windows Mobile package of mobile services as a whole comprising Windows Phone, Windows Marketplace and My Phone. Yes, it's unnecessarily messy but what else is new?
Windows Mobile News via BetaNews
Windows Phone Clarification via BetaNews