Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

Summary: Delays are all but inevitable in the development of Windows. But whether Microsoft can negate those delays, it could have massive consequences in post-holiday sales.

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With all the booming headlines and flashy spectaculars flowing out of Microsoft's BUILD conference, little has been said or even alluded to around the actual ship date of next-generation Windows 8.

Application builders and consumer testers have been flooding to Microsoft's download the developer preview, to get their hands on the latest build of the operating system. Over half a million copies of the software have been downloaded since it was announced yesterday.

But some are questioning when the next version of Windows will in fact hit the shelves. In my eyes, I see delays as an all but inevitable problem for the Redmond giant to overcome, and frankly, they know it.

Microsoft's general launch date for its operating systems is normally set for pre-holiday season, to claim as many sales as it can for the busy Christmas period. But older, more febrile operating systems have known to be held back until major issues have been fixed, or development has slowed through ongoing issues.

Windows 8 will be "quality driven" rather than "data driven", according to Steven Sinofsky, the Windows chief, offering at least some indication that the Windows team will not be rushed.

Considering Microsoft is still recovering from the blow that Vista caused on the markets, Windows 7 has had a great deal of work to redeem the bad tempered, sluggish and insecure operating system that came before it. So far, it has succeeded a great deal — and is catching up with Vista's own predecessor, Windows XP, in the marketshare statistics.

Sister site CBS News points out that Microsoft's seemingly lax attitude towards its own internal schedules has meant that the 'three year period' for which operating systems are worked on, gives the opposing forces of Apple and Google time to push out their rival products at a more predictable rate.

Windows Vista alone took the best part of five years to develop after Windows XP was a massive hit -- still used on hundreds of millions of PCs worldwide; long past its sell-by-date.

With the constant evolution of Windows, way back to the early days, delays are all but certainly inevitable. It does, however, fall down to whether those delays can be made up and effectively negate those timeline challenges.

But Windows 7 was in effect rushed out, to dampen the already battered landscape of its predecessor, Windows Vista. Though it was released in time for the holiday season in November 2009, Microsoft had taken a confidence hit by the epic disaster that Vista was. Having said that, Windows 7 sales are booming and are set to overtake Windows XP sales in the coming year.

Though Microsoft could, and probably expects, to get Windows 8 -- or whatever it may be called -- out of the doors and onto the shelves by the holiday season next year, should something go wrong in its development, it will cost the company tens or hundreds of millions in sales revenue.

The long term affects are far wider for the company, which needs to maintain its dominance in the operating system marketshare, in not only raw sales but equally its profits and shares. Even a month after Christmas could seriously harm the company's financial status, but its reputation also.

Let's just hope that the Windows team knows exactly what is at stake.

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Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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15 comments
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  • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

    Are you saying that its inevitable that they will miss the holiday season?
    Rich Miles
  • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

    @Zack.

    I really dont get the value you are trying to deliver with this write-up. If you are indicating that Microsoft should be aware of the risks of being late, you are stating the obvious. And that 'insight' applies to any company trying to sell a product in a competitive market.

    Your reference to Vista being 5 years in the making is also 'stale' in the sense that Microsoft has since shipped Win7 very rapidly and that's become one of the most popular OSs today. So they've learnt from their mistakes.

    There appears to be an inherent negativity in your write-up, and it seems that you are just looking for ways to write off Microsoft.
    senvj
  • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

    How does the lack of a release date translate to a delay? It's too early for a release date.
    jhammackHTH
  • Bigger problem for M$

    I would certainly have been more comfortable if M$ were handing out Win8 on ARM tablets at BUILD ...<br>... but I think M$ has a bigger problem.<br><br>The success of a Windows tablet will depend to a degree on price but applications and cloud integration will be far more crucial. M$ are a long way behind Apple here too: no application store and no music deal.<br><br>M$ are going to have to dig deep into their pockets to catch up and may need their enterprise lead to fund the race.

    I had a distinct moment of deja vu when I used METRO for the first time last night. Was it not in Windows 98 when M$ introduced Active Desktop, where Internet enabled icons pumped content to the desktop. Of course the network wasn't up to the loading in those days ... but how slow M$ have been to reuse that good idea.
    jacksonjohn
    • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

      @johnfenjackson@...
      "applications and cloud integration will be far more crucial. M$ are a long way behind Apple here too"
      You are right. I just realized that Apple is light years ahead of Microsoft on the cloud space....after all they did call their product iCloud.

      Jeez man...stop being delusional. Apple only has sync of data to the cloud and they rumour has it that the so-called Apple "cloud" runs on Amazon EC2 and Azure. And Microsoft has had live mesh for ages now, and it also did sync to mac's at some point. so this iCloud idea is neither original nor is it some earth shattering cloud investment. it's a nice toy with a fancy name, that has people like you wide eyed in awe.

      Windows 8 is expected to support all windows 7 legacy apps. How many windows legacy apps do you think there are out there? I'm sure you have no clue. Here's a tip - that number is enough to add some trailing zeros to the number of apps on Apple's app store.
      senvj
    • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

      @johnfenjackson@...

      Huh? Your Engrish make no sense. They did handout Win8 on tablets at BUILD. It was a Samsung, and I believe ARM equipped.

      AND, they already announced the App Store at the BUILD. They actually showed the store. All new AND legacy apps will be available through the store.

      AND, Music? They already have it, its called ZUNE. The Zune Pass is a million times better than iTunes. I LOVE it, and the software for the computer is far better than iTunes.
      spaulagain2
      • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

        @spaulagain


        Tablet at Build was NOT ARM ... it was Intel x86
        whatagenda
  • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

    A lot download it to check it out doesn't mean they should sell it tomorrow morning. I wanted too see what's new. I saw and uninstalled.<br><br>I am skipping windows 8 I don't want or need Metro. If they would have made 2 UI modes Win 7 and Metro I might have brought it. However the way it is now it like a set top box OS. Not something I would put on my server or laptop.

    They need to stop making changes to windows just because they like eye candy. To me they took the best OS and ruined it.
    Randalllind
    • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

      @Randalllind <br><br>Did you even watch the keynote or any of the build sessions at all? There is a Windows 7 desktop mode...they did all the Visual Studio demos in the Windows 7 GUI.
      dtdono0
    • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

      @Randalllind

      UGH, Another ignorant post by someone who doesn't know a damn thing about Win8. Windows 8 has both UI's. You can toggle between Desktop and Tile UI at the tap of a button. They did it a lot at the BUILD conference.

      Windows 8 improves the Desktop while also meeting the needs of the Tablet market (and exceeding what the iPad offers).
      spaulagain2
  • What

    "Microsoft???s general launch date for its operating systems is normally set for pre-holiday season, to claim as many sales as it can for the busy Christmas period."


    Windows 95 August 1995
    Windows 98 June 1998
    Windows XP October 2003
    Windows Server 2003 June 2003
    Windows 7 July 2009

    So, do you just make this stuff up? Although, technically true, July is pre-Christmas season, I seriously doubt that was the implication you were trying to make.
    Your Non Advocate
  • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

    I really would like you to stop blogging. article after article I feel, why zdnet don't have any qa in place. why they still allow you to write.

    do you pay them??
    deep@...
    • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

      @deep@...
      LOL. (agree with the comment on the quality of article)
      senvj
    • RE: Windows 8 ship dates quietly avoided; Delays inevitable?

      @deep@... It's easy to insult someone for their work, but harder to actually prove that you could do their job better, and honestly, if you're going to insult someone then you should be ready to prove that his article is inferior with a piece of your own.
      athaki
  • Worthless, insubstantial, ill-informed article.

    Almost as puerile as many talkback comments.
    Lester Young