Microsoft has officially shown off Windows 7 at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) as the internet overflows with early looks at the OS that will replace Windows Vista.

Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie has already unveiled Microsoft's cloud computing solution Azure, but as the first review of pre-Beta Windows 7 hit the internet, it was all about the OS.

"We are bringing the best of the web to Windows, and the best of Windows to the web," said Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect at Microsoft.

"From PC to the web to the phone, and from the server to cloud, we are focused on enabling the creation of the next generation of user experiences that change the way we live, work and play."

Functionality

According to Microsoft's press release, when it finally arrives in late 2009 or early 2010 Windows 7 will 'deliver the fundamental performance, reliability and security features that people expect... New features will help protect privacy and data, make it easier to keep a PC running smoothly and enable quicker recovery from problems.

'Windows 7 will streamline and simplify the tasks people do most often. Improved navigation, a new taskbar and a streamlined user interface put commonly used resources within easy reach.

'Sharing data across all PCs and devices will be easier at home, in the office or on the go. Windows 7 and Windows Live will help users stay connected to the people and things they care about, and Internet Explorer 8 will offer a faster, safer and more productive web experience.

Multitouch

'Windows 7 will offer more choice in how users interact with their PCs, such as through multitouch gestures. With Device Stage, Windows 7 enables people to get more from the devices they use most often with their PC, such as cameras, phones and printers.

'Windows 7 also will make it easier to use home audio-video systems and other networked media devices to play music, watch videos and display photos that reside on Windows-based PCs.

'And Windows 7 will offer more options than ever to customise and personalise Windows-based PCs with styles that match the user's personality.'

Drinking in the last chance saloon?

It's a massive product for Microsoft, with Vista suffering criticism and widespread apathy.

As web apps and open source becomes more prevalent, the Redmond company knows that it needs to act swiftly to ensure that its operating systems stay dominant, and Windows 7 needs to be a major hit.

There has already been talk that Windows 7 is essentially a rebadged Vista - but the scuttlebutt matters much less than the public's perception of the product.