The press release is titled Microsoft Updates Windows Vista Road Map which is the polite way of saying it slipped:
Microsoft Corp. today confirmed that Windows Vista™, the next generation of the Windows® 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.
“Product 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,” said Jim Allchin, co-president for the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft. “But the industry requires greater lead time to deliver Windows Vista on new PCs during holiday. We must optimize for the industry, so we’ve decided to separate business and consumer availability.”
Because of the way businesses test and deploy software, it makes sense for Microsoft volume licensing customers to receive windows Windows Vista starting in November of this year. Availability for consumers and on new PCs will follow in January.
More details came out in a press conference call. Ina Fried at CNET:
However, Microsoft said that a delay of a few weeks in Vista’s schedule meant that some PC makers would be able to launch this year and others would not. As a result, Windows chief Jim Allchin said the company is delaying the broad launch of the product until January.
“We needed just a few more weeks, and that put us in a bubble…where some partners would be impacted more than others,” Allchin said in a conference call with reporters and analysts.
The previous November release date always was cutting it rather close for the holidays and the addition of a “few weeks” probably had the OEMs throwing up their hands.
But here’s a fine kettle of fish. Who is going to buy a holiday gift PC that one month later will be “obsolete” or require an operating system upgrade? I think Microsoft better launch the marketers on that one post haste. They can start with a big band-aid for the broken “Vista-capable” program and while they are at it, figure out if they still want to do a joint launch with Office 2007.