The reason it took so long, so says Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group at Microsoft, is from the sheer feedback, and apparently not just from the Send Feedback option on every Windows 7 program title bar.
So if you want to get a word in to Microsoft, don't shoot an email. They won't read it. Instead write a blog post including the term "Windows 7," and you'll be set.
Sarcasm aside, if what this man says is even half-true (can you really read every blog, comment, and news story about Windows 7 out there on the free web?), then they're sifting quite the load of information. As it is, the Send Feedback items alone were quite monumental. According to Sinofsky, Microsoft received over 500,000 reports--- over 500 reports for each developer on the team to read through and address. During a "peak week in January," they were receiving one report about every fifteen seconds.
Concerning device compatibility and driver issues, Microsoft recorded over ten million devices on systems running Windows 7, 75 percent of which ran using drivers preinstalled with the system. Almost all of the remaining 25 percent of drivers were able to download drivers from Windows Update or directly from manufacturers.
Sinofsky goes on to describe just what a "bug," according to the developers, is. It sounds rather broad, especially with that phrase, "any one of dozens of different ways that the software can behave in a way that isn't expected." He probably could have said just that and left it and we would have been content, but you know how long-winded people can be when dealing with public relations:
To the man's credit, he has personally answered over 2,000 emails from beta testers since August, and that's actually quite a feat; I've personal experience in the matter of answering back hundreds of confused emails from angry parents and students since the exact same month, and it can wear on a body.
Speaking of "bugs," he also said that Microsoft already has plans to fix a fair 2,000 of them in Windows 7, and I'm willing to bet that there'll be plenty more before this beta is finished in August. Go, go, Windows.
As a side note, don't you think I'm entitled to 1/250,000th of the profits made on 7 for my two Send Feedback items? Maybe if I play their games and sue Microsoft, I'll get recompense.