The US Congress may have banned online gambling for the citizens of the Republic, but that isn’t keeping anyone in the USA or elsewhere from a little friendly wagering on whether Microsoft’s Vista will actually be launched in November. Here’s your opportunity to get in on the action (in a non-monetized way, of course), but before you do, better read the various prognostications below the poll:
On the yes side, the good news for Microsoft has been that ever since the pre-RC1 build 5536 was released in August, the reviews of the beta releases have been uniformly favorable. But while the operating system itself may seem to be in good shape, the bad news is that it still requires a less than leisurely death march to release it to manufacturing (RTM) on time. I’m sure the Microsoft AppCompat team is burning up the wires to ISV’s to get application compatibility bugs sorted and statements of support, but there are still problems like “Windows Vista: Aero Glass and Java Don’t Mix” and fixing them is hard to rush across multiple vendors.
Moreover, when you get right down to it, such a speedy schedule is unprecedented:
“I am not really confident about their making the ship date,” Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, told me recently. “I think they will RTM in the first quarter of 2007 with general availability 90 days post RTM.”
Cherry’s logic: “There are only 40 days between now and the last day of October, which I arbitrarily use as the last date they can RTM and still get the bits to volume license customers by end of November, which I believe is the last date possible to make their promise. Forty days is a lifetime if you are a kid waiting for Halloween. It is a blink of the eye if you are trying to stabilize code, get out a RC, and then golden bits. Heck, it probably takes seven to ten days between release and getting a critical mass of installs to know which way the bug list is going to trend.”
Then there are the concerns that external factors like European Commission complaints might provide a reason and/or convenient excuse for Microsoft to delay or partially delay the release.
Again on the yes side, Microsoft’s Brad Goldberg, General Manager of Microsoft’s Windows Client Business Group has been on tour telling all that will listen that Vista is just one more EDW (External Developer Workstation) build of Vista away from RTM and inspiring Mary Jo Foley to guess that November 9 is the launch day.
Joe Wilcox is more circumspect:
But I’ve seen nothing yet that makes me certain Microsoft will makes its date–nor have I seen any strong indication Microsoft will miss the date either.
Meanwhile testing continues apace as Paul Thurrott explains in detail. Excerpt:
Microsoft this Friday will ship the final pre-release version of Windows Vista and, unexpectedly, will name the release as Release Candidate 2 (RC2).
While Microsoft wouldn’t confirm the specifics of the release, the company did corroborate that it was planning an upcoming interim Vista build.
This is the last build Microsoft will be making available to the public prior to RTM, or “release to manufacturing.” That date–which was previously referred to as “on or before October 25″–has been adjusted slightly. Now, the Vista “launch window” begins October 18, when Microsoft will begin testing the final planned build for RTM. But Microsoft doesn’t expect to finalize the product until sometime between October 25 and November 8.
The only thing that will stop the Vista train leaving the station in November is a dismal application compatibility report card and while it may be a near run thing, I don’t think it will happen. A few bugs can be fixed with an early service pack and the tardy ISV applications will be fixed within a few months either by them and/or by Microsoft application compatibility fixes. Moreover, Microsoft has a built-in gap before Vista starts appearing on OEM hardware where the only users will be enthusiasts and a lot of remedial cleanup can be done. As for the European Commission, they’ll whine no matter what Microsoft does and if Microsoft is waiting for them, they’re standing still.
Vista will RTM in November. (If a later dish of crow is required, please only send electronically.)
Update: My apologies that the above polling service is a trifle aggressive when it come to advertising.