It must be hard for a company like Microsoft to keep its guarded release schedule under wraps, particularly with employees blogging about their work. A Microsoft Russia Enterprise Services (virtualization) employee, Alex Kibkalo, typed a blog claiming that the long-awaited first service pack (SP1) for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 would air to OEMs on Saturday with the build string 7601.17514.win7sp1_rtm.101119-1850.
Lending support to his claims is the fact that Windows leak site Wzor listed that same build string as the likely name for the final release of the service pack.
According to Mr. Kibkalo, Microsoft made an internal announcement that the pack was done and would be released (likely to OEMs) January 15 "Redmond time". The report's credibility, though, is undermined by the fact that Microsoft has never made a weekend release of a Service Pack and that Mr. Kibkalo does not appear to been authorized to speak on behalf of Microsoft regarding the upcoming Service Pack.
Nonetheless, the service pack is highly anticipated as it will bring bug fixes and (reportedly) numerous improvements, including RemoteFX, which will give users improved, 3D-ready graphics in virtual desktops; dynamic memory support to Hyper-V (Windows Server-only), which will allow all memory to be pooled and dynamically distributed to virtual machines; improved Bluetooth/Wi-Fi functionality; and official USB 3.0 support.
Service packs provide Microsoft with the opportunity to package together bug fixes and security fixes (which have typically been previously delivered piece-wise to consumers over Windows Update). They also provide a place for Microsoft to deliver new content. As Microsoft's retail releases come less frequently than those of its chief competitor Apple, Service Packs are crucial to Microsoft's OSs having a healthy lifecycle.
A beta release of Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 was released in July for public consumption.