First of all, Flores confirmed Microsoft has indeed taken a different approach to promoting the next release of Windows. "We know that when we talk about our plans for the next release of Windows, people take action. As a result, we can significantly impact our partners and our customers if we broadly share information that later changes," he explains, "With Windows 7, we're trying to more carefully plan how we share information with our customers and partners. This means sharing the right level of information at the right time depending on the needs of the audience.
More interesting are the rather clear goals Flores puts forth for Windows 7:
Apparently, Windows 7 will focus on performance - not a bad idea seeing the lukewarm reception Vista has gotten was mostly based on its demanding requirements.
Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft's Windows chief, also broke the silence today in an interview with CNet's Ina Fried. He reiterated the three year time frame, where Windows 7 is scheduled for release three years after Windows Vista. Sinofsky also confirmed what Flores had to say: driver and programs that work on Vista will also work on Windows 7. "We're very clear that drivers and software that work on Windows Vista are going to work really well on Windows 7; in fact, they'll work the same. We're going to not introduce additional compatibilities, particularly in the driver model." He added that Windows Server 2008's kernel is an evolution of Vista's kernel, and Windows 7's kernel will be an evolution of the Server 2008 kernel.
Ina Fried posed some interesting questions to Sinofsky, one of which is about backwards compatibility. Many people, including myself, have argued for an Apple-like approach: move backwards compatibility into a virtual machine. Sinofsky dismissed the idea of looking at backwards compatibility as a burden or challenge:
Lastly, IStartedSomething claims that during the Ballmer-Gates keynote speech at the D6 conference today, Windows 7 will make its first public appearance. "Whether or not we'll actually see a live build of Windows 7 or purely a technology demo of a specific feature remains a mystery, but it's sure exciting," the website states. In light of the rather tight-lipped approach both Sinofsky and Flores have just taken, I'm not sure whether this claim holds any water - but who knows. Be sure to keep an eye on the D6 website.