Windows 7 For Christmas ’09?

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Although it’s not being specific, Microsoft has all but confirmed that it will be shipping its eagerly-awaited new OS, Windows 7, in time for the holiday season next year.

At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference on Thursday, while offering a presentation on the Vista Velocity program, Microsoft director Doug Howe said the company would continue the program with 7.

The presentation appeared to confirm what’s become widespread speculation – that the company would ship Windows 7 to take advantage of holiday season buying next year, something it’s rumored to have already told partners. However, it’s held off from a public declaration to avoid the kind of embarrassing delays that dogged the release of Vista.

But Howe told CNET that "definitely the holiday focus is going to be on 7."