Microsoft launches its own blog for 'Windows 7'

The official marketing channel for the next edition of Windows was opened this afternoon, as Microsoft quietly raised the curtains on what it's positioning as an open channel for ideas regarding what the company should add to its next OS.

In their initial post to the "Engineering Windows 7" blog this afternoon, its two hosts -- Windows senior vice presidents Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky -- acknowledged that their company will indeed divulge the first engineering details about Windows 7, as it's still being called, on October 27 at the Professional Developers' Conference in Los Angeles.

Borrowing a metaphor from one or more presidential campaigns this season, Sinofsky and DeVaan promised readers the blog would be used for a "two-way conversation" with the enthusiast community.

"The audience of enthusiasts, bloggers, and those that are the most passionate about Windows represent the folks we are dedicating this blog to," they wrote. "With this blog we're opening up a two-way discussion about how we are making Windows 7... We strongly believe that success for Windows 7 includes an open and honest, and two-way discussion about how we balance all of these interests and deliver software on the scale of Windows. We promise and will deliver such a dialog with this blog."

The inaugural comment for this discussion came from user parithon, who noticed a little something missing: "I look forward to all the upcoming information but...who forgot the RSS feed? This feature is almost required for blogs today. I'm sure you know we're all too busy to refresh our browsers in order to find out if a new post has been published." (UPDATE: Such a feed now exists -- and actually may have existed all along -- at this address.)

Sinofsky was the Microsoft executive brought in from the Office division in March 2006 to help reassemble its Windows strategy. In a reorganization last month, his position was shifted around and redefined, so that he now reports directly to CEO Steve Ballmer rather than to CTO Ray Ozzie. DeVaan, meanwhile, had led some important projects at Microsoft including its IPTV projects.

After former Windows chief Kevin Johnson's departure to become CEO of Juniper Networks, DeVaan was scooted into a parallel position to that of Sinofsky. As the company now describes, Sinofsky is now in charge of engineering both the Windows and Windows Live platforms -- a job once thought to be spearheaded by Ozzie -- while DeVaan maintains responsibility for the "core" of the Windows OS.

Last May, Sinofsky was one of the first to speak publicly on the subject of Windows 7, telling reporters Microsoft still plans to maintain a three-year cadence for its operating systems. The lifespan for Windows Vista, he said at the time, began with its "general availability" as opposed to its release to manufacturing, which led many to conclude that Windows 7 would be scheduled for as soon as the winter of 2009. With that timeframe, serious beta testing and hardware compatibility engineering would have to begin immediately.

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