Am I the last one to know about Windows 7?

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In a post today on another topic, Ed Bott makes the claim, “Intel’s decision makers no doubt have a pretty good idea what’s in Windows 7 and when it’s likely to be released. Their decision to skip Vista tells me that the next version of Windows is further along than most outsiders think.”

A couple of things here.

First, my gutt tells me Ed is probably right though it makes me bummed. I’m a long-time Windows developer and I know very little about Windows 7 outside of that in some form there’s going to be multi-touch support–but exactly how it’s going to be implemented I have no idea. The result? I can’t plan nor write anything for it. All I can do is watch the hardware and guesstimate that Microsoft is going to provide a standardized way to interact with the hardware that’s bubbling up in the marketplace. (Heck, even Google has a multi-touch API now.) This concerns me a little–especially as I see Apple and the web chomp away at Microsoft’s innovation mindshare–but I know I can keep on moving on whatever Microsoft does. They’re way too big for me to worry about too much, if you know what I mean.

Second, it’s already public as to when the next version of Windows will be available–sometime in late 2009 or 2010. Nothing else has been said about 7 although we now know that Windows 7 will be at least discussed at PDC.

Third, Microsoft has stated that it’s talking with some partners about Windows 7 of which Intel is probably on that list since it works with hardware vendors. So Ed Bott might be correct in that Intel knows quite a bit about 7 and that outsiders are in the dark.

And finally, it’s clear to me that Microsoft’s don’t talk strategy with Windows 7 is more about not talking with the end user and developer community than anyone else. This will probably change–at least a little–when the first beta comes out–though wouldn’t it be Saturday Night Live funny if Microsoft never talked about Windows 7? Heh.