In The Windows Blog, Brandon LeBlanc said: 'There certainly has been a lot of discussion about Windows 7 in the last few weeks. A lot of folks want to know when they can get their hands on the official RC, when we are going to RTM, and what I had for breakfast. I’m pleased to share that the RC is on track for April 30th for download by MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Broader, public availability will begin on May 5th.'
The Release Candidate (RC) is an important milestone insofar as it signifies an almost-complete operating system. The next step, release to manufacturing (RTM), will be the last before you see the final product.
We guess that the announcement of the RC of '7' takes on larger significance right now, considering Microsoft suffered a drop in revenue for the first time in a long while. Will 7's arrival be the panacea for Microsoft's (relatively minor) economic woes? Wait and see.