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What a Late-July Win10 GA Might Mean

Lots of sources on the Web are reporting on a comment that Lisa Siu, CEO of AMD, let slip during the Q&A portion of a recent earnings call last Friday, which I reproduce here in its entirety:

What we also are factoring in is, you know, with the Windows 10 launch at the end of July, we are watching sort of the impact of that on the back-to-school season, and expect that it might have a bit of a delay to the normal back-to-school season inventory build-up.

I feel bad for the potential fall-out with MS that such a slip might cause, given AMD’s consistently weakening hold on the PC market, and its ever-declining consequent fortunes, but this is useful information because of what it tells us about the upcoming timeline for Windows 10:

1. Given a General Availability date on or before 7/31/2015, that lends more credence to February 2015 reports that the release to OEM manufacturers (RTM) would occur in June (see, for example, thee reports: Network World, NeoWin).
2. It suggests strongly that features of great interest should either appear, or fall out of the upcoming Windows 10 release, within the next 30-60 days. These include a new and improved Maps interface and applications, improved voice controls, final lockdown of universal apps features, advanced biometrics support, and more. I can’t wait to see what actually shows up by the end of May, because that’s when “feature lockdown” is most likely to occur.
3. Microsoft’s timing shows that they fully understand the importance of the “back-to-school” buying impulse, just as Ms. Siu of AMD does. Hopefully, a timely end-of-July release gives OEMs enough time to flood their channels and buyers enough time to buy in before school gets going from mid-August to early September around the country and the world.
4. All of this means that the next couple of “slow ring” builds to emerge for Windows 10 (which have been promised to hit at approximately 30-day intervals in the months ahead, indicating that one of the recent builds leaked, such as 10051 or 10064, may hit fast and slow ring status soon, given the 3/18 release date for 10041).

And indeed it looks like Windows 10 might be limbering up for the home stretch, and hopefully also, showing those remaining major capabilities still not in evidence that are intended for GA release sooner rather than later in that process.