With just ten days to go until the official release of Windows 7, Microsoft is bending over backwards to help its partners test and build on its new OS. That's the observation of Shane O'Neill, who on CIO.com quotes a Microsoft exec's stats on what's been going on.

Windows 7[It] includes hosting more than 60 application compatibility labs, 6 logo fests, and outreach to partners in more than 93 different countries. In the Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program alone we now have over 50,000 developers from 17,000 companies using our technical resources to ready their products for Windows 7.

That Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program is an important stop for anyone who'll be tasked with ensuring and enforcing Windows 7 compatibility in an organization. This is tough stuff, but it has to be done. One bit of good news, according to Microsoft.

On the hardware side, 9 out of 10 beta testers and early adopters of Windows 7 have the drivers available for all hardware devices in and connected to their PCs.

Given the less than enthusiastic greeting Vista was given on its arrival, and all the struggles with it since, the advent of Windows 7 should be a relatively happy occasion, even if it does mean tons of work for IT departments who need to evaluate it, install it, troubleshoot it, and ensure compatibility with legacy apps and applications. Then again, this is what IT does.

-- Don Willmott