Help Windows There has been all kinds of buzz around the Internet in the last week regarding Windows 7. It started when a roadmap of the Windows 7 release cycle was leaked revealing that Microsoft’s intentions are to ship the operating system in 2009, instead of the previous 2010 estimation that was announced. At that time it was also revealed that the first milestone of Windows 7 had already been given to key partners.

It wasn’t long after that when a Neowin forum member claiming to have Windows 7 Milestone 1 posted some things that he had noticed when using the new operating system, but he must have felt some remorse because he quickly pulled down the post that he made… not before the caches could pick it up though. Then just yesterday a Chinese site posted several screenshots of Windows 7 M1 which left us squinting just to see how it differed from Vista.

And today there is a video available [via I Started Something] from the Chinese site who posted the screenshots. Don’t bother going to watch it because you’re not really going to see anything you haven’t seen before. They didn’t bother to open the Control Panel or demonstrate how the new System Tray expansion works, which was probably the only thing exciting about the screenshots in the first place.

By the time Windows 7 Milestone 3 rolls out later this year we should start to see some changes to the appearance, but Mary Jo Foley is wondering if Windows 7 is going to be the Anti-Vista that the Vista critics want it to be. She really hit home when she said:

But Microsoft is in a tricky spot. Apple can put consumers front and center when it designs a new operating system. But Microsoft needs to strike a balance between creating an operating system that appeals to both business users and consumers. If Microsoft only had to appease business users with Windows 7, a minor, no frills point-release update would be perfect. But it also has to fend off Mac OS X with Windows 7 on the retail front.

I think Microsoft is going to try and spend some time figuring out what users need the most out of Windows 7, and they’ll make sure that it’s done right. Don’t expect to see a ground-up redesign, but at least we shouldn’t have to worry about Microsoft making promises that they can’t keep. I think they’ve learned they’re lesson on that one.

Microsoft also just posted record profits for the second quarter saying that their revenue was over $16 billion. Their chief financial officer said that is $2 billion over their previous record, and a good chunk of that has to be fueled by Vista sales. Considering that they’ve sold over 100 million licenses since Vista’s launch I would say that it’s not as much of a dud as some sites lead you to believe.