Events are planned around the globe over the next 24 hours and culminated with a ceremony in New York where Microsoft chief executive officer (CEO) Steve Ballmer formally unveilled the new operating system at 11:00 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT).
"With Windows 7, there's never been a better time to be a PC," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "Together with our partners, we're bringing more choice, flexibility and value to the market than ever before. With Windows 7, you're sure to find a PC that fits your life."
Migration to Windows 7 is crucial for Microsoft as Windows Vista, the software giant's previous operating system released about three years ago, was poorly received with performance and compatibility problems. As a result, many users of Windows XP, the version that was released eight years ago, have been reluctant to upgrade to Vista.
Ballmer today thanked the millions of volunteers who helped improve the product by testing early versions.
Windows 7 offers many new features such as revamped taskbar, improved file management and navigation, improved parental control, multi-touch and gesture and generally better performance, reliability and security.
A range of new PCs incorporating the software in all shapes and sizes from Hewlett-Packard Co, Dell and others were unveiled on Thursday.
Beginning today, several new offers will start that customers can take advantage of to get Windows 7:
- Microsoft worked together with their partners to introduce a series of limited-time offers with great deals on hardware, software, upgrades, support, and other options. New offers will be released daily and available for the next 7 days on Windows.com as well as through participating retail and OEM partners. These "7 Days of Windows 7" offers are available in the U.S. only (other countries have specific deals as well). Those offers will include:
- Best Buy Bundle: HP Laptop, Desktop PC with monitor, Netbook, wireless router and set-up by Geek Squad for $1,199. For the price of one average Mac, you can outfit your entire family with 3 Windows 7 PCs and a home network
-Dell: Save more than $100 on a Dell Studio XPS13
- Gateway: All-in-one Acer Gateway ZX6800 23" for $899
Buy a PC - Get a Discounted Upgrade for another PC: Customers who buy a PC with Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate will be able to purchase a discounted copy of Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate to upgrade an existing Windows PC. This offer will run through January 2nd, 2010 and be available in Germany, UK, Czech Republic, Greece, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, Hungary, U.S., Canada, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Australia.
Windows 7 Family Pack: The Windows 7 Family Pack is also available today while supplies last. Customers can buy 3 licenses of Windows 7 Home Premium for one low price - for the U.S. it's available for $149.99. The Windows 7 Family Pack is available in the U.S., Japan, Canada, Germany, UK, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Sweden. One of my favorite features in Windows 7 today is HomeGroup.
Windows 7 Student Offer: Students (an .edu email address is required), can upgrade to Windows 7 at the LOWEST PRICE offered, $29.99 in the U.S. This offer runs through January 3rd, 2010 for US, Canada, France, Germany, Korea, Mexico and UK and March 31st, 2010 for Australia.
In addition, as Microsoft today celebrates the availability of its new flagship operating system Windows 7, another milestone is taking place in Scottsdale, Arizona.
It's the opening of Microsoft's first-ever retail store, which offers a select line of laptops, netbooks, all-in-one PCs, Xbox consoles, Windows Mobile phones and one of the largest selection of third-party software titles in any store. A second store will open Thursday, October 29 in Mission Viejo, Calif.