"Microsoft Updates Windows Vista Road Map," Microsoft said euphemistically in a press release today.
But there is no way that the headline could sugar coat the actual news. Windows Vista is delayed – again.
Consumers won't be able get their hands on the software until January 2007. Enterprises however get access in November. But then we're talking about just the disks. It is unlikely that preinstalled and certified Vista business systems will be available this year either.
So who's to blame? Windows boss Jim Allchin during a conference call was walking on egg shells, but after being peppered with questions, he finally gave in. Microsoft needed "just a few more weeks" for unspecified quality reasons. That in turn pushed manufacturers over the edge, who claimed that they would be unable to have Vista systems in the market in 2006.
To prevent a hysterical race between computer makers to launch Vista PCs in time for the crucial holiday shopping season, Microsoft took the embarrassing decision to delay the consumer launch.
The delay is probably a wise decision because it prevents poorly tested, error prone systems from hitting the market. That could have caused irrepearable PR damage to Microsoft's "most major operating system release since Windows 95".
But the Vista operating system was originally expected around 2003, two years after Windows XP. How a 2 year development cycle turned into a 6 year monster project will be material for tons of management books.
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