Screenshots have been appearing all over the net of Windows 7 M3 Build 6780, and one criticism seems to float to the top every time. Users are disappointed that the UI looks exactly like Vista. This reaction although true, should be taken with a grain of salt. Microsoft has a very storied history of leaving user interface tweaks to the very end for a good reason. Popular GUI elements are always in a state of flux among fickle users. Core improvements to the kernel on the other hand, are something that can be worked on at any time while leaving the final layer of Chrome to the very end. A full layout of screen shots of M3 (milestone 3) were posted at thinknext.net and is likely going to be similar to the version Microsoft will show at its upcoming PDC in October. One trend that we can identify now however is the inclusion of the ribbon interface from Office 2007 into core applications like Paint and WordPad. Other than this, things don’t look a whole lot different. Love it or hate it, the ribbon UI seems to be the future of Microsoft applications and is likely to become a trademark of the OS. The latest builds of Windows 7 include Internet Explorer 8 and presumably, given the lengthy turnaround on IE releases, will be the final version included in Windows 7. Currently the OS seems to remain on track for its scheduled launch somewhere between mid 2009 and early 2010. This timetable seems reasonable given that ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley expressed belief that Windows 7 will enter beta 1 by December of this year. Want to see the evolution of the paint UI from Windows 98 to Windows 7 so far? Hit the jump to see the side by side comparisons.
CNet reports that the Microsoft Office subscription service previously code-named "Albany" will be sold at Circuit City as Microsoft Equipt. Equipt provides home users with access to a lot of software for a yearly subscription that's not much more than Windows Live OneCare.
To find out more about what you get for your money, join me after the break.