The DOJ is getting a sneak peek at Windows 7, since in 2001 Microsoft had agreed to allow the Feds to monitor all future operating systems. Once Microsoft stated a new operating system was in the works, the Feds wanted a look-see to make sure Microsoft was in compliance with a previous court judgment.
One could conclude that Microsoft may have a feature enriched version available and has been working on Windows 7 for quite some time. Rumors have circulated that Microsoft began working on a new operating system, right after Vista was released.
In an article from eweek Microsoft Watch it states:
Under terms of Microsoft’s November 2001 Justice Department settlement and final court judgment issued about a year later, a government-sanctioned “Technical Committee” has overseen Windows development. The TC is responsible for ensuring that Microsoft complies with the terms of the final judgment, investigating complaints about Microsoft abuses and regularly reporting on the company’s compliance.
The TC oversaw Windows Vista development and required some changes before the operating system’s release. Each quarter, the Justice Department, Microsoft and states attorneys general file a joint “status report,” largely based on the TC’s activities. The process should have mostly ended on November 12. But Google (and some other Microsoft competitors) requested an extension, and U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly gave it to them: Two more years of government oversight.
Maybe those rumors of a 2009 release could be true this time. Microsoft may try and get the new operating system out the door before the 2009 holiday season. I am sure this would please the OEM’s and retailers.