Who's waiting for Windows Vista?

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.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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