Microsoft\u00a0denied rumors (widely circulating on the Web) that Windows 7 has already been shipped to key partners and will be released in 2009.\u00a0In an e-mail exchange with the WinVista Club, Microsoft said Windows 7 is still in the planning stage and will take three years to develop.In response to being questioned on whether the company was\u00a0rushing the Windows 7 release based on Vista's poor\u00a0sales, Microsoft says: "We're confident that many organizations are recognizing the value in Windows Vista. Of note, sales of Windows Vista licenses have now passed 100 million. In addition, Windows Vista is being adopted by businesses at a rate that is similar to past releases. In the business market there are early, mainstream and late adopters, with the majority of businesses falling into the category of mainstream. We\u2019re seeing positive indicators that we\u2019re already starting to move from the early adoption phase into the mainstream, and that more and more businesses are beginning their planning and deployment of Windows Vista." Here's\u00a0how Mary Jo Foley, who puts an "ublinking eye on Microsoft," responded to the party line:My bet: The Windows dev team will likely say that Windows 7 is in planning until the day it is released to manufacturing. Planning simply means not done; it doesn\u2019t mean it does not exist in bootable form, in the new \u201ctranslucent\u201d Windows world order... Based on early Windows 7 screen shots, which continue to proliferate, it seems like the Windows team is leaning toward delivering a smaller, more finite release, rather than another big-bang like Vista. Fewer features means less time needed for development and testing \u2014 not more.One of my sources close to Microsoft weighed in recently with this observation: \u201cWindows 7 is cleaning up some UI (user interface) and will feel more like a SP (service pack) than (Vista) SP1. In fact, it looks like the only changes will be around the Task Bar (\u2019the tray\u2019) and not much else. There is a big push to take more (out of) Windows,\u201d not to cram more features into it.She included an excerpt from a\u00a0Microsoft spokeswoman dated January 29 who said, "We are currently in the planning stages for Windows 7 and development is scoped to three years from Windows Vista Consumer GA (general availability).""Microsoft\u2019s official public statement remains that Windows 7 wil be released in 2010," says Foley,\u00a0"three years after the consumer launch of Vista."\u00a0She, for one, is\u00a0"betting we could see Windows 7 ship in 2009."