But the release candidate is already available for free download with free product keys, which will remain valid till June 1, 2010. This is a good opportunity for the consumer to test drive the new offering and get used to it. While it provides Microsoft with an opportunity to further fine tune the operating system and take care of any last moment glitches.
I have installed the release candidate on my main desktop a few days back and am really impressed with both the installation and the stability. I did not have to go through driver-searching hell and everything just worked out of the box. And Aero is a breath of fresh air, improving usability not just appearance. My only gripe is about IE 8. I still do not like it. I prefer firefox with my favorite add-ons like ubiquity and adblock plus.
I am sure there will be quite a few changes between now and the release to market. But after the Vista debacle, I think Microsoft has learned from its mistakes and improved this new version.