In a very surprising statement, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said that Windows 7, the successor of Windows Vista, could come within the next year. That's way ahead of schedule as it was previously hinted that the next major revision of the operating system would arrive sometime in 2010, or roughly three years after Vista.

Gates made a public appearance at the Inter-American Development Bank in Miami, where a meeting to discuss Latin American development held place. Nevertheless, the question regarding Vista and Windows's next release was imminent. When referring to Windows 7, Gates added: "I'm super-enthused about what it will do in lots of ways."

It's quite unclear if Gates referred to a Windows 7 early test version rather than a widespread release. The former is quite more feasible.

We can already expect that the next iteration of the OS will have a less rocky introduction to market just like Windows XP had after Windows 2000 leveled off the ground a year prior to its release. Windows 7 will most likely be a very polished and compact version of Vista (in terms of its inner workings) that hopefully won't have to suffer the same driver and platform mutations that led to many complaints with Vista.