Not for nothing has Microsoft borne the brunt of jokes that talk about the continuous need for improvements in its Windows software which necessitates the release of one version after another.
Of course, Windows fans disagree and say that the scorching pace of new technology requires that the software incorporates the latest developments in its field, and hence the constant renovation.
Whatever be the reason, all of them would be taken by surprise that a possible release date of Windows 7 has come straight from the horse's mouth, and the date isn't far away. Bill Gates, speaking on corporate philanthropy at the AGM of the Inter-American Development Bank, disclosed this crucial bit of information in response to a question from the audience.
Although he said Windows 7 could be released ''sometime in the next year or so'', the official spokesperson stressed that Gates was talking about the pre-release versions of Windows 7 and not the finished product, which wouldn't be available till 2010.
Microsoft has started the developer program for Windows 7 and there are reports that a test version, of it, called Milestone 1, have been given to some of the software giant's biggest customers.
Gates said that the new version will have a lot of innovative features, but declined to give details. Analysts say that, on average, a version of Windows takes a year from final test version to saleable product.