Based on all the external indications it has appeared ever since release candidate 1 that Vista was on track and now Microsoft has confirmed that impression with a press release:
Microsoft Corp. today confirmed that it is on track to deliver Windows Vista™ for worldwide availability to its volume license business customers in November and worldwide general availability in January.
For what it’s worth, Colin Barker at ZDNetUK caught a Microsoft employee making an more precise statement on a launch date:
Speaking to IT professionals, parliamentarians and senior law-enforcement officers at the Parliament and Internet conference in London on Thursday, Microsoft revealed its release plans.
“We will officially launch Vista, Microsoft Office 2007 and Exchange 2007 on 5 December,” said David Hipwell, a Windows client sales professional at Microsoft.
Note that launch dates are for festivities and don’t necessarily correspond to availability dates. There could also be different launch dates in different geographies, but that seems doubtful for Microsoft products of this importance. Anyhow, back to the press release:
The company also confirmed that it would be releasing Windows Vista in Europe and Korea on schedule, following what the company called “constructive dialogue” with the European Commission and the Korea Fair Trade Commission.
Microsoft agreed to make a number of changes to Windows Vista in response to guidance the company received from the European Commission, said Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith. Smith confirmed that the company has also incorporated changes to Windows Vista in Korea to comply with its legal obligations there.
“We recognize that the European Commission does not give ‘green lights’ for new products, and we have not asked for one,” Smith said. “We appreciate the constructive dialogue we have had with the commission and the guidance the commission has provided. Based on this guidance, we have made changes to ensure that we’re in compliance with our competition law obligations, and we are moving forward to make Windows Vista available on a worldwide basis.”
But on Friday, Kroes said Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer had told her it would not delay shipping Vista.
“He announced that they have the intention to ship it (Vista) globally,” she told reporters on the sidelines of a competition conference in Italy.
“He (Ballmer) was aware that he shouldn’t ask me if I could give a green light to it (Vista) and rightly so,” Kroes said of her conversation with the Microsoft executive.
In a separate statement, the Commission said it would closely monitor the effects Vista had on the market and any complaints relating to it, reiterating that it was not up to the EU executive to give Vista a “green light”.
Fully whining rights reserved, of course.