Windows 7 betas worldwide began bi-hourly shutdowns today. The move is engineered by Microsoft to push users to the Release Candidate build and eventually to purchasing a full edition.  (Source: Gawker)
Users will begin to experience unpleasant interruptions

As forewarned, if you are among the millions who downloaded the Windows 7 beta and you haven't since upgrade to the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), you are about to experience unpleasant service interruptions.  In lieu of an October 22 release, and a wrap-up for the RC phase, Microsoft began the end of life process for the beta release today.

Starting today users running the beta version of the OS will have their system shut down every two hours.  Microsoft is urging users who stuck with the beta to jump to the release candidate, which includes a number of additional features and refinements.  Writes Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc in a Windows team blog post, "If you're still on the Windows 7 Beta you should certainly look at giving the Windows 7 RC at try!"

For those enjoying the free Release Candidate, the good times will roll until
June 1, 2010, when the RC build will cease to function, forcing users to purchase the new OS (or revert to Vista/XP).  The RC download program ends August 15.

Microsoft's Windows 7 is currently in its second week of the pre-order program, which is nearing its end.  The pre-order program will end on Saturday, July 11.  Users can still snag a pre-order copy of Home Premium upgrade for a mere $49.99 or Professional for $99.99.  Once the pre-order expires, these upgrade prices will jump to $119.99 and $199.99 respectively, with Ultimate edition being priced at $219.

Pre-orders will soon also available still in
UK, Japan, France, and Germany.  For EU customers, the pre-orders are especially sweet as they allow Europeans to snag the OS at its cheapest full-retail prices.  In the European Union Microsoft will not be offering an upgrade SKU, but will be offering full retail versions at the same price as the upgrade versions in America.  The international pre-order program runs from July 15 to August 14.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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