Microsoft has achieved a milestone today for Windows 7 by pushing it to RTM stage. The company has already started to ship the products to the OEM partners and by October 22, we would be able to find the OS at our nearest store.
Microsoft would continue to distribute the RC (Release Candidate) via the official download location and users can continue to obtain the product key for free. The download would be available till August 20, where as Microsoft would continue to provide RC keys till March 2010.
An important thing is noticeable in this announcement that although the retail copy is going to be out by October 2009 but the RC product (CD) key distribution would continue till March 2010. Meaning, indirectly acting as a demo version of the OS.
Mean while, reports suggest that crackers / pirates have already cracked and validated a pirated RTM copy of Windows 7, even before it can come out to the public.