Microsoft Corp. today confirmed that Windows Vistaâ„¢, the next generation of the WindowsÂ® client operating system, is on target to go into broad consumer beta to approximately 2 million users in the second quarter of 2006. Microsoft is on track to complete the product this year, with business availability in November 2006 and broad consumer availability in January 2007.
â€œProduct quality and a great out-of-box experience have been two of our key drivers for Windows Vista, and we are on track to deliver on both,â€ said Jim Allchin, co-president for the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft. â€œBut the industry requires greater lead time to deliver Windows Vista on new PCs during holiday. We must optimize for the industry, so weâ€™ve decided to separate business and consumer availability.â€
How many notebook manufacturers were counting on selling Vista-powered notebooks for the holiday season of 2006? I don’t know all of the issues involved, but I’m surprised. Considering that Apple will probably complete their Intel transition by September, along with having Mac OS X 10.5 out, something very serious must have come up for Microsoft to give Apple even more room to grow, but that’s neither here nor there – the important thing is, this could affect what notebooks we see out around the holidays, or whether or not manufacturers will work out something where holiday buyers are able to get some kind of coupons/mail-ins/etc. to obtain the Vista upgrade when it’s avabile.
“We’re trying to crank up the security level higher than ever,” he said. “This came down to a few weeks. We are trying to do the responsible thing here… Maybe in the past we would have just gone ahead but now we’re not going to do that.”
Putting aside security issues, I think the bigger picture is that there maybe businesses who have been holding off on big purchases until Vista came out, rather than dealing with Windows XP and then a Vista migration on the same machines.
It’ll be interesting to watch what happens.