Microsoft announced on its Engineering Windows 7 blog today that the next version of Windows 7 would not be a beta, but a near-final version of the OS, a release candidate (RC).
In the blog post Microsoft points out that it considers the rolling out of new operating systems a part of the “PC ecosystem” in which the final stages of a Windows OS are developed in partnership with OEMs, manufacturers, potential customers, so as to make the final release compatible with a wide variety of systems and able to provide a “complete and satisfying” experience. Microsoft does go on to point out that in the development of Windows 7 they have attempted to make sure that as many applications and devices that are supported on Vista do work on 7.
In the blog post they also go over their methods of data gathering, research, bug report reviews, and reveal their plan to release Windows 7 RC as an update to the Beta. Microsoft also provides a link to a site with Windows Vista and Windows 7 compatible devices and software which is updated with the help of device manufacturers and software developers…
You can read the full blog post at the MSDN Blog page.