For Vista, a few extra months can only help

For Vista, a few extra months can only help

Summary: Microsoft says Windows Vista will be out in January 2007, a month later than the previously announced target date. So why should we believe them this time? Maybe because they put an actual date on the schedule for the first time ever?

TOPICS: Windows

I am relieved, greatly, that Microsoft decided to push off the release of Windows Vista by approximately three months. First, because it means that we’ll have the time to do a proper job on Windows Vista Inside Out. Second, because it increases the likelihood that Vista will be a solid release instead of a shrink-wrapped final beta.

Wiley book publisher Joe Wikert has an interesting theory about Windows release dates:

You're no doubt familiar with Moore's Law and how it explains how processing power roughly doubles every 18 months. I have a completely separate theory I like to call "Microsoft's Law". It states that you cannot lock down on a major product release unless the projected release date is within the next 6 months. In this case, the previous projection was that Vista would release by the end of the year, or approximately 9 months from now. That's beyond the 6 month window of "Microsoft's Law", so it shouldn't surprise anyone that it's been further delayed. In fact, if January remains the official target release date, we can't be assured it will stick until we're within 6 months of then, or till approximately 7/31; if they're still calling it a January release by 7/31, "Microsoft's Law" says you can feel pretty confident it will hit.

I have a different theory: Don’t trust any announced ship schedule from Microsoft until an actual date has been put on it. “We’re confident that we can deliver a quality product in the second half of this year” does not qualify. “Retail availability in January 2007” does. The spin factor is up around 11 in the official Microsoft press release, but what I’ve seen says they can hit this new date. If they didn’t believe that was possible, Jim Allchin would have announced that the ship date had ben put off until the first half of 2007. Know what I mean?

Microsoft says “business availability” of Windows Vista will be in November, with “consumer availability” in January 2007. Dwight Silverman draws the wrong inference from this two-phase release schedule:

Managing a two-part release -- businesses in November/December, consumer in January -- will be difficult. How many consumers will jump the gun and try to get their hands on the business version?

And since Vista will include the ability to upgrade itself via download, will consumers be able to start out with the business version -- which likely will be stripped of Media Center and other entertainment features -- and then later convert?

It won’t be possible to sign off on one of the eight (or seven, or five, depending on how you look at it) Windows Vista SKUs without signing off on all of them. The so-called business release is almost certainly the Enterprise Edition, which includes every available Windows feature and is essentially identical to the retail Ultimate Edition. That November date is most likely when the “golden masters” are scheduled to be signed off and begin being distributed en masse to OEM PC makers and corporate customers. And within 24 hours of that final sign-off, you can bet that bootleg copies of the Vista code will be burning on the BitTorrent networks as fast as the official DVD pressing plants.

The irony, of course, is that most corporate customers have no interest in being on the bleeding edge of a new operating system. They’re especially not interested in undertaking a mass software deployment during the holiday season, when the people using the PCs and the people managing the deployment are attending parties, taking time off, and generally distracted from work.

A November release date allows the project to squeak in under the original deadline, just in time for Allchin’s retirement party. Whether they can sell lots of copies will be someone else’s job, in 2007.

Topic: Windows

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  • going to 11

    Nice Spinal Tap reference!
  • Microsoft: Fix Word. Pleazzzzzzzz.

    Let's hope they take this time to do some real work on Word, which needs a major overhaul.

    For years I've said they can take 10 legal secretaries and 10 medical and make a much better product. And a writer. Give us what we want--A Word processor where we chose the functions we want, like: Capitals after a colon, indenting, numbering after a heading, etc., reliable capitalization after a period so we can type and forget about hitting the cap key, and SO MUCH MORE! Let's do it! Hey Redmond, Let's go. Let's getting typing into the 21st century along with all the other programming. Thanks
    • re: Microsoft: Fix Word. Pleazzzzzzzz.

      >>...Capitals after a colon, indenting, numbering after a heading, etc., reliable capitalization after a period so we can type and forget about hitting the cap key, and SO MUCH MORE!...<<

      You want a document processor like Abiword. Does all of that and more. Has been for at least 7 years.
      • Thanks. My problem is IT at companies

        That just barely know what Word is, much less anything else. Most of what I do is tied to a proprietary system.

        Thanks for the INFO. Really appreciated and I will check them out. Maybe I can paste into Word once I'm done, or something.
        • But thanks so much, really. I have looked

          forever and not really found anything by surfing, and IT just says "huh?" and stares and acts dumb when asked if they know of a better word processor.
          • RE: But thanks so much, really. I have looked

            Have you looked here? It is an open source product, part of abisource. I know it works on most flavors of Linux, BSD, Apple OSX, and Windows. Abiword does do everything you said you wanted. Should be worth a look. Costs nothing but a little time to try it out.

          • Thanks. I found it--

            I'll post back after I try it.

            What I had meant earlier was that I had surfed the Web for word processors and not found this. Don't know why. Found a lot of other smaller things. Thanks.
  • Business edition?

    Honestly, I can't think of a single business that's going to upgrade from XP just to get transparent windows.

    Anybody know of a business process that benefits from transparent windows?
    • How about . . .

      Andersen Windows?
    • DUH...

      [b]Honestly, I can't think of a single business that's going to upgrade from XP just to get transparent windows.[/b]

      If that's ALL you think is built into Vista then you've been WAY too fixated on the transparancy thing.

      Ya think a business MIGHT benefit from say, SECURITY? Or the new search functionality? Or how about ANY of the other features that they're putting into Vista?
  • Super Exciting!

    I too am super excited about this Vista delay!

    It's the best!

    I agree it can only mean that Microsoft will ship a better product.
    To extend this logic, it occurs to me that March or April will yield
    an even better result.

    To extend further, the brass ring would come in the form of an
    unlimited and indeterminate delay. Giving a blank cheque to
    such visionaries can only be good.

    So thank you Microsoft for delivering to us the world's best OS.
    Thanks again for doing it on-schedule in 2006. All we have to
    do, is pretend that Apple doesn't make it.
    Harry Bardal
    • Nice

      I've been reading all the articles and all the spin on the Vista delay and the fact of the matter is- it's bad news for MS, it's bad news for their partners, it's bad news for the PC industry as a whole come this Christmas and there's not ONE FACT that will change this.

      Sit and spin. The Microsoft game. It's really quite dispiriting to read yet another "reporter's" homage to the spin industry.

      Where's an actual reporter who will tell it like it is: this is a MAJOR setback for MS. It's only because it enjoys a monopoly it won't seriously hurt them. The rest of the industry, relying on Microsoft assertions and an almost total lack of independent investigation, won't be nearly as fortunate.
      • Diminishing returns

        The reason it won't hurt MSFT is because they're sitting on a pile of cash. They're not stupid. They know the entire PC life-cycle is running into the law of diminishing returns and they've salted themselves away a retirement.

        There is no rule anywhere that says innovation is linear. We've had tremendous innovation over the past 30 years and it's been pretty obvious the transmission of voice and video was the end game of this innovation cycle. Well, you can watch movies on an iPod now, so there you have it.
    • RE: Super Exciting!

      >>...All we have to do, is pretend that Apple doesn't make it...<<

      That shouldn't be hard. Apple never has made it and I don't see them making it in the near future. Nice little toy, though.
  • Vista delay

    The delay will certainly increase that Vista is bug free, was expecting a delay really. Thanks Microsoft. I was hoping a a delay, I am saving up for new system, in the new year, so I am hoping now to get my moneys worth in a system that is capable of running it.

    Thanks Microsoft for waiting to get the bugs out of it. If it takes longer that what you expect by this delay, I will back you up. It might take longer that you expect. Maybe later in the 2007, you never know Microsoft.
  • Copeland shuffle

    But I would rather have it RIGHT.
  • Is Vista Vaporware?

    Is a new operating system or another release of NT?
    Windows 2000 = NT 5.0
    Windows XP = NT 5.1
    Windows Vista= NT 5.2???
    • The official version number is 6.0

      The official version number for Windows Vista is 6.0.

      Windows 2000 was NT 5.0, Windows XP was NT 5.1, Server 2003 was NT 5.2. This article is useful and appears accurate:
      Ed Bott
  • If the delay is a good thing...

    Then why is Microsoft Senior Execs not giving people on the Vista Project public bonuses and pat-on-the-backs for a job well done and great forward thinking "Hey, lets delay, it will make things better!".

    Instead, there was a Management shakeup and some were even shown the exit door. That is a bad sign no matter how you spin it. That wasn't done because people are pleased with the delay.

    In the future, please try writing articles that reflect the TRUE activity going on within Microsoft as it will endear a greater level of trust form the readers.
    • Go back and read it again

      I never said that any executive deserved congratulations for the sloppy management that got the Vista project into its current state. Delaying the release date is the right thing to do, compared to the alternative, which would be releasing on the original schedule.

      If you read my follow-up post, you'll see what I think of Microsoft management:
      Ed Bott