Our friend Brandon LeBlanc breathlessly announced the RTM of Windows 7 yesterday, surprising almost exactly no one that 7 would ship on time, ready for the holiday season. Our congratulations to Microsoft and the Windows teams that made it happen, we’ve been using it for some time, are thoroughly impressed, and will be buying a 3-pack as soon as they ship, maybe more.
What is a bit more surprising, however, is the distinct lack of a shiny new Windows Live Wave 4 to complete the experience. Remember that Windows Live is the replacement for features included in Windows for (software) generations: there’s no Mail, Photo Gallery, or Movie Maker included in Windows 7, clients need to be downloaded and installed to get the same functionality that you get with Vista or XP out of the box.
Of course the current version of Windows Live is ready and available, but it will be almost a year old when Windows 7 hits the shelves (Wave 3 was released as a beta in November of last year. The final version was released in February, but was actually the same build number as the beta). While Windows Live as it sits is certainly functional (well except for Movie Maker), it’s kind of like wearing old shoes with a new suit.
That’s not to say that new stuff isn’t coming. At MGX ( the Microsoft internal sales meeting/rah rah event, held this year in Atlanta) Microsoft insiders were treated to a look at at least some of what’s coming. Here’s some notes on what they saw, courtesy of a blog post by Stephen Rose, a Windows Sr. Community Manager:
What have I learned?
- Some cool first looks at Windows Live. Cool stuff coming! Watch for more seamless integration between your desktops and mobile devices.
- Great new photo and video sharing features in Photo Gallery and Windows Messenger.
- …(some Windows 7 stuff)
- Next rev of Windows Movie maker coming soon. Watched a head to head demo against iMovie. Movie Maker is back!
Microsoft has changed course on how they run betas, and we’re not expecting any private, “managed” betas for Wave 4. The shut down of the Windows Live Butterfly program, a group that had been specifically created to test and offer feedback on Windows Live offerings is a telling indication of that, and there are others. We’re hearing that a Wave 4 public beta may be arriving at or near Windows 7 launch time in October, but it won’t be the same as offering a shiny new fully ready Windows Live, ready for launch. Hopefully, however, the latest and greatest Windows Live will be worth the wait.