So, they're trying. Microsoft last night (for me) posted some more information about Windows 7. Here are the pertinent (and new) bits…
I have nothing new to add regarding RTM today.
Many believed that Microsoft would have announced RTM last Monday at WPC, and there are indications that that was the original plan. Expect news this week, however.
ISV (Independent software vendor) and IHV (Independent hardware vendor) Partners will be able to download Windows 7 RTM from Microsoft Connect or MSDN on August 6th.
Microsoft Partner Program Gold/Certified Members will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English through the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Portal on August 16th.
Microsoft Action Pack Subscribers will be about to download Windows 7 RTM in English starting August 23rd.
OEMs will receive Windows 7 RTM software images beginning approximately 2 days after we officially RTM.
Volume License (VL) customers with an existing Software Assurance (SA) license will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English starting August 7th via the Volume License Service Center (VLSC).
Volume License customers without a SA license will be able to purchase Windows 7 through Volume Licensing on September 1.
TechNet and MSDN subscribers will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English on August 6th and remaining languages by October 1st.
We are going to release an evaluation of Windows 7 Professional for IT Professionals via the Springboard Series shortly after RTM
A special thank you to our beta testers is needed for their time and effort in helping make Windows 7 a solid release ... Beta testers will not receive a free copy of Windows 7. [Emphasis mine]
The painful thing here, for beta testers, is that they've been screwed. The rationale here is priceless, too: "Many beta testers are already subscribers to TechNet; those of you who fit that description will be able to download Windows 7 RTM shortly after RTM." But later in the post, it notes that "over 40% of beta testers are IT professionals." So roughly 50 percent of beta testers probably don't, in fact, have TechNet access (as TechNet is an IT pro service). Enjoy your special thank you.
I know there have been some rumors going around about a "family pack" for Windows 7. We have heard a lot of feedback from beta testers and enthusiasts over the last 3 years that we need a better solution for homes with multiple PCs. I'm happy to confirm that we will indeed be offering a family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium (in select markets) which will allow installation on up to 3 PCs. As I’ve said before, stay tuned to our blog for more information on this and any other potential offers.
You know, one of my big complaints here is that we need to know the cost (and, apparently, availability) of the Family Pack in order to determine which is the better deal (the individual retail pre-orders or the Family Pack). But the promotional pre-order offer is over in the US, so it's too late there. I still think it would have been a lot classier to announce this Family Pack, and its pricing, with the promotion. That would have let customers make better educated decisions about which was best for them. Here, we see how Microsoft's lack of clarity just ends up hurting people. And I don't get that at all.
I'll update the Windows 7 FAQ with this date information today.