According to WinFuture.de, this build was compiled at December the 3rd, which was before build 7000 which was compiled on December the 12th. Neowin states that Microsoft employees were given access to this build earlier this week and greeted with the following message:
"Thank you for joining us on our shared journey to Windows 7. The work we’ve done is largely based on the feedback we’ve gotten from you before and throughout the development process. We rely on beta testers, like you, to help refine the product before it’s commercially released. If you haven’t already installed the Beta, we want you to! Please refer to the Installation Instructions to get started"From what is gathered so far despite the confusing post from Steve, Build 7000 is to be Beta 1, and Build 7004 is the next branch that starts for the RTM/RC phase.
Interestingly, Scott Wylie has pulled the article off his blog, suggesting that he might have revealed something that he shouldn’t have.
On another note, Softpedia seems to believe that we can see the Public Beta being delivered as early as January 5th 2009, although the author does not cite any sources at all. (full Story)