Taking bets on the Windows Vista launch date

Will Windows Vista be released on August 24? If you look closely at the history of Microsoft Windows, you'd have to bet on that exact date.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

What is it about the date August 24 and Microsoft Windows?

August 24, 1995 - Microsoft officially releases Windows 95 with the biggest launch party in the history of the computer industry.

August 24, 2001 - Microsoft releases Windows XP to manufacturing.

August 24, 2006 - Microsoft releases Windows Vista to manufacturing?

It could happen. In an internal blog post that was leaked to Business Week last November, Microsoft's Chris Jones, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Core Operating System group, promised to forego his bonus if Vista isn't shipped by August 31, "with high quality and the soul intact."

The consumer PC industry, like so much of the rest of the consumer economy, lives and dies by what happens in the final quarter of the calendar year, so having products on store shelves by October is essential. It's no coincidence that every consumer version of Microsoft Windows has been released in a three-month window between late May and the end of August. A late August release date would allow PCs preloaded with Windows Vista to be available from large OEMs by the end of September, probably a few days or even weeks ahead of the shrink-wrapped retail release for upgraders. That's just in time for the holiday season. If the schedule slips by another month, it would be a financial disaster for Microsoft.

As it turns out, August 24 is a Thursday this year, just as it was in 1995. Will we see a launch party the size of the one in 1995? I doubt it. But it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see a press release with that date at the top. 

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