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Microsoft will soon send Windows 7 Service Pack 1 to OEMs

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Jan. 16, 2011

Microsoft employees in Russia say they are getting ready to ship Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP-1) to PC makers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the next week or so.

Windows 7 version 7601.17514.win7sp1_rtm.101119-1850 Service Pack 1 is the final build and it will be at OEMs around Jan. 17, give or take.

In November, Microsoft said it had prepared its Windows Service Pack blocker tool kit to include its upcoming service packs for both Windows 7 PCs and Windows Server 2008 R2.

The SP-1s for both operating systems hit Release Candidate status last October, and it was widely expected that the new service packs would arrive by January 2011.

However, Microsoft hasn't made any other official comment about the releases.

Microsoft's service pack release cycle for Windows 7 is very similar to that of its much less popular predecessor, Vista.

Microsoft handed OEMs its much hated Vista OS in November 2006, and a service pack for it wasn't available before 13 1/2 months later, something that the PC industry was quick to underscore at the time.

On Friday, it was revealed that Microsoft's Windows operating system is on the verge of dropping below 90 percent of the global market share of OS's, with smartphones, MIDs (mobile Internet devices) and tablets posing an increasingly serious threat to Microsoft's dominance of the operating system industry, according to recent new numbers from Net Applications Inc.

The market research firm's new report, which lumps mobile and desktop operating systems into just one single statistic, reveals that Windows' market share dropped from 93.74 percent in February 2009 to 90.29 percent in December 2010.

Overall, Windows was still slightly above the 92 percent market share mark as recently as February 2010 but suffered steady losses during the rest of 2010.

"The operating system usage market share trend line points to Windows' overall usage falling below 90 percent sometime during mid-2011," says Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice-president of marketing and strategic alliances for Net Applications Inc.

"The timing on all this depends on several market forces. It could be as early as next month, or possibly not at all, but we still see happening by mid-2011 or a bit earlier," added Vizzaccaro.

Microsoft's overall continued dominance of the desktop operating system market will likely not be enough to keep Windows' total share above 90 percent, simply because the proliferation of smartphones and tablets is changing the definition of what a personal computer is.

Microsoft's continuing mobile efforts revolving around Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7 in tablets will be crucial for the company, and will have a great impact on the company's future earnings, not just for this year, but for 2012, 2013 and 2014.

IT analyst Jack Gold predicts that "By 2013, greater than 67 percent of browsers accessing the Internet will be on non-PC devices. Internet Explorer will ultimately become a minor player in the browser market, with WebKit-based rendering engines powering the majority of mobile devices, Mozilla-based browsers being deployed on Linux-based and Meego-based larger form factor products.

As a result of all of this, websites will no longer be optimized for PC-based Internet Explorer, but will standardize on WebKit and HTML5 for broad-based browser compatibility."

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