Microsoft predicts 177 million Windows 7 shipments by year end

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New Orleans (LA) - What was good enough isn't good enough any more, says Microsoft's Bill Veghte, banging the final nail into Windows Vista's coffin and consigning everyone's least favourite operating system to history.

Veghte says Win7 is the first release of Windows for two decades where Microsoft has had to turn people who want to try it away. Bravely copying data to a USB stick using BitBlocker To Go, Veghte throws the stick into the audience.

Every Win 7 corporate customer will get a free license enabling them to run Windows XP legacy apps, adds Veghte. Migrating from Vista to Win7 will be extremely smooth, he claims.

"We wanted to make darn certain that we could logo certify over 16,000 partners working on Win7 apps. Within 72 hours of launching Win 7 Release Candidate, we had two certified graphics drivers," said Veghte who reckons MS will ship 177 million copies of the new OS by the end of 2009.

Some 246 million Vista PCs present a $320 billion upgrade opportunity for partners and 51 million business desktops are already licensed for Windows 7. From September 1, a limited time volume license discount of between 15-35 percent will also be available, together with a doubling of internal usage rights.

Veghte concluded by saying the public awareness of Windows 7 was currently running at 40%, with' no marketing spend'.

But the one fact missing from the presentation was the announcement of Windows 7 being released to manufacture. Still, Steve Ballmer's up soon...