Who's waiting for Windows Vista?

Who's waiting for Windows Vista?

Summary: Not business, that's for sure, according to a new report. Meanwhile, Microsoft is rushing to have shrink-wrapped copies of its new operating system available for consumers in ... January? If there's a worse month for a product launch, it's hard to imagine what it could be.

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TOPICS: Windows
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At Technology Pundits, Roger Kay piles on to the “Vista's not even close to ready” bandwagon, with this pithy quote: “Never in history has a Microsoft operating system been this buggy this late in the game.” That’s the punch line for a post that details a litany of bugs and a generally miserable experience with the latest beta build of Vista.

I agree with that overall conclusion, as far as it goes. But then Kay adds this strange follow-up:

Conclusion? November is still a solid maybe for the business version. Many of the best improvements in Vista (things like the way software images are built) are on the inside (not visible to the average user) and seem more together than the interface and the consumer-oriented multimedia functions, which are still somewhat brittle. So, unless they change the way they do business up there in Redmond dramatically, I'm thinking January is sounding pretty ambitious for the consumer version.

Huh? Release the business version in November but delay the consumer version? Let’s go through this once again. These are not two separate products. Windows Vista is a single deliverable that will be packaged in different forms. The business version won’t be ready to ship until the whole thing is ready. The consumer version won’t be ready to ship until the whole thing is ready. The interface is the same in all versions, and the core of the “consumer-oriented multimedia” features are also part of every version. It’s possible that the Media Center functions could be checked in later, but that’s far from the only problem with Windows Vista today.

And besides, there’s no demand from the business community for Vista, according to a Bloomberg report filed this morning:

Microsoft Corp. may have to wait at least a year for most U.S. companies to switch to the new version of its Windows operating system, according to a survey by JupiterResearch.

About 50 percent of companies either won't deploy Windows Vista at all or will wait at least 13 months after the system's November corporate release to begin installation, said Jupiter analyst Joe Wilcox, who surveyed 207 companies with more than 100 employees. An additional 13 percent had never heard of the new operating system.

[…]

Wilcox expects it will take at least seven years for Vista to push out older versions of Windows.

Fifty-six percent of companies still run Windows 2000 on some of their computers, and 19 percent use Windows NT 4.0, which was released in 1996, Wilcox said. The most recent version for PCs, Windows XP, came out in 2001.

Indeed. If Windows Vista Business and Enterprise were ready for a November delivery date, who would install them? Consumers are the ones who will want Windows Vista first, and January is about the worst possible time to launch a consumer product. Surely someone in Redmond has noticed this.

Topic: Windows

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59 comments
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  • Businesses as second-class citizens

    Ed, the only logical reason I can imagine for trying to push Vista to businesses this year is to appease the customers who were sold Software Assurance with the expectation that there would be a new version within three years.

    Well, there won't. Now what? Foist an unfinished product on these people who have been patiently waiting? Charge 'em for another three years? For three years these people have been paying Bill's bills... what did they get for the money? Has anybody in Redmond suggested a discount?
    dave.leigh@...
    • Silk Purses

      [i]Well, there won't. Now what? Foist an unfinished product on these people who have been patiently waiting?[/i]

      Sure -- they're going to wait for at least SP1 before deploying it anyway. However, if MS "ships" it this year, those businesses will at least have the [u]right[/u] to upgrade when they get around to it.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • and sow's ears.

        Presumably these customers will be tapped to renew their SA contracts. So what's the difference between upgrading "on their old SA contracts" and upgrading on the new contract? To me it looks like no difference at all unless a discount is offered for the renewal (which is what I was suggesting in my OP).

        Of course, the major difference in your reading of it is that businesses that do NOT opt for SA renewal should still have the "right" to upgrade should the product ship this year.

        This is important because "once bitten, twice shy"... given the track record with Vista, the chances are virtually non-existent that there will be a major upgrade within the next three years, meaning the SA holdouts still hold the high ground. I don't see any course of action that helps Microsoft's chances of permanently converting to a recurring revenue stream... that's been a mishegoss all 'round.
        dave.leigh@...
  • September is the deadline

    IIRC, the renewals for SA come up in September, so they've already missed the deadline.
    Ed Bott
    • Doesn't SA run through December?

      [i]IIRC, the renewals for SA come up in September, so they've already missed the deadline.[/i]

      I thought contract renewal was September, but the benefits ran through the calendar year.
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • You're right

        Apparently, SA contracts always expire on December 31.

        I try not to write about this stuff because it's so confusing. This is a good example of why!
        Ed Bott
  • Corporate communications failure: re-org time.

    I'm stunned by the volume of misinformation flowing out of
    Redmond. Come on guys, get your PR act together. I'm shocked
    that you don't have a dedicated Windows communication team
    capable of providing your customer base with clear, concise
    information re: release dates. When is VISTA coming out again?
    4dA
  • Message has been deleted.

    4dA
  • Message has been deleted.

    4dA
  • Message has been deleted.

    4dA
  • Hold off

    Business customers would be wise to hold off on Vista. I'm not sure what Vista will give them that they are not already getting from XP. Microsoft has to sell Vista to clients, and delays and price increases aren't helping.

    http://opendomain.blogspot.com/
    opensourcepro
    • My PC at work

      is an old P3 Compaq, running windows 2000. Most Companies are still getting around to upgrading to XP, so I'm in serious doubt about Vista's success if they're going to try to sell the upgrade to the Business sector . . .
      jlhenry62
  • November doesn't matter

    Despite all of the rhetoric from Redmond imitating Linus' "it'll be ready when it's ready" ship scheduling, it really doesn't matter whether MSVista is shippable in November. In fact, it doesn't even matter if the latest build at that point even runs ten minutes without going down in flames, taking the whole system image with it.

    It only matters that MS be able to declare to business customers that they [b]could[/b] order it if they want to.

    The reason is Software Assurance.

    MS strongarmed a lot of customers into SA several years ago (despite major resistance) on the grounds that it would be less expensive than actually buying updates. Now, MSVista and MSO2K7 are looking to arrive [i]after[/i] those SA contracts expire -- proving the holdouts right.

    If MS doesn't "ship" MSVista and MSO2K7 this year, at least [u]enabling[/u] businesses to upgrade on their old SA contracts, their chances of converting their business revenue stream from a release-driven one to steady cash flow are in deep, deep kimchee.

    [b]THAT[/b] is why MSVista and MSO2K7 will "ship" this year, come Hell or high water.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • People with brains didn't go for SA

      Looking at the past, what happens now is only history repeating itself. Although not for long anymore, we still run five servers on Win NT4 and still use Office 97. Of course the company where we recently bought our licenses for Office 2003 tried to sell us SA, even called in MS representatives for help. I think I took the right decision not to agree.
      I think that in 2010 we will still be using Windows Server 2003 and Office 2003. If not, we probably migrated to Linux ;-)
      european
  • Nice to know I'm not the only person....

    ....who thought that was a dumb idea. Businesses are just not going to pony up the cash to overhaul all of their desktops just so they can be running Vista as soon as possible when XP (and even 2000 in some cases) works just fine for their purposes. In fact, I don't expect many businesses to be running Vista by the end of 2007, let alone the end of this year.
    jgmsys@...
  • think about the consumer supply chain

    Ed,

    You are missing the basic timing points for the consumer version. A November release does not mean locking down a final version image at MS on November 1. In order to get the final version image burned onto millions of machines at hundreds of PC vendors to have on shelves for Christmas season, the final image needs to be locked much earlier. It would be a good journalism question to figure out exactly when. August? September?

    MS is not likely to have a fully tested and documented version early enough for all the vendors to burn images for their Christmas machines. So, MS will have to miss Christmas season for the consumers.

    Why would they ship earlier for business? I dunno, but the previous correspondent here who suggested it is due to Software Assurance deals makes as much sense as anything else I've heard.
    danny@...
    • Not sure I understand your point

      Vista missed the window for hitting the holiday season long ago. The magic date is sometime in August, and they publicly announced a few months ago that OEM and retail copies would be released in January. Now the question is whether that date makes sense.

      If the issue is SA contracts and making sure that anyone who purchased an SA contract gets the right to install Vista, then just give them a supplemental contract. It makes ZERO sense to release an unfinished product before the end of the year so that some technical requirement of a contract can be fulfilled.
      Ed Bott
      • Wait I'm losing the thought

        Where is the customer value in this mess? It's looks to me this is all a what is good for MS show. What about the MS customers that have been paying for all this?
        OldMarine
  • Vista will be in time for some Christmas

    possibly 2007, probably 2008 ;-)
    european
  • What consumers?

    Do consumers really want more intrusive DRM, built-in spyware like WGA, and the inability to install 3rd-party security software that actually works? XP is my last Windows OS at home. Besides, every delay and every last-minute fix represents a few dozen security holes.

    The only reason conumsers will buy this trojan horse is because Dell and eMachines will bundle it. Happy days ahead for Xandros and Ubuntu if they don't blow this opportunity.
    stjones@...