Microsoft announced today that British PC users can pre-order Windows 7 for £49.99 from 15 July and that all new PCs running Vista bought after 26 June will get a free W7 upgrade when the new OS launches 22 October.

TechRadar spoke to John Curran, Microsoft's Windows Business Lead in the UK, who gave us the full lowdown on Windows 7 release dates, pricing and offers.

Global release Oct 22

Firstly, effective as of tomorrow (26 June) through to end of January 2010, "the Windows 7 upgrade programme will be available," which basically means that, "anyone buying a new Windows Vista qualifying PC as of tomorrow will be entitled to a Windows 7 upgrade at little or no cost to them."

"Starting tomorrow people can buy the new PC they want with confidence," noted the Microsoft man.

Windows 7 releases globally on 22 October and there will be a "limit of 25 PCs per person or small business for the upgrade program."

For more on that offer head over to www.windows.com/upgradeoffer and for more details on the £49.99 pre-order deal check out www.microsoft.com/uk/win7preorder

Fastest OS yet

Secondly, at launch on 22 October, Windows 7 will be "available that day in 14 languages around the world and in the remaining languages around the world on October 31-35 languages in total," Curran informed TechRadar.

It is, Curran assures us, the "fastest global launch of a Windows Operating System ever."

While the full RRP for Windows 7 Home Premium is £149.99, from launch (22 October) through to 31 December 2009, UK PC users will be able to pick up a copy of Microsoft's new OS for £79.99.

"The intent is that we are working in the best interests of consumers and users within the UK," says Curran, adding that it is a "comparable price to anyone else that will be upgrading around the world."

So, we asked the Windows 7 rep, will UK consumers pay the full £149.99 after 1 January 2010?

"We will continue to look at and monitor the situation and see what we can do, but the full version pricing is £149.99," we were informed by Microsoft.

'While stocks last'

The pre-order offer for Windows 7 Home Premium for £49.99 is a limited time offer and will run "while supplies last" in addition to a similar pre-order offer for Windows 7 Professional (which will be available on pre-order at £99.99 on 15 July).

"We are rewarding users for upgrading to the best OS we've ever made," said Microsoft's John Curran.

"The feedback that we are getting from the beta and RC versions has been incredibly positive, people are excited about how easy it is to use, the performance that it offers from a quality perspective it is the highest quality OS we've ever developed."

For more details on Windows 7 pricing head over to www.windows.com.