October 6, 2006 5:37 AM PDT

Analysts split over Vista launch date

Microsoft is on track to ship Windows Vista to businesses in November and to consumers in January, according to investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs analyst Rick Sherlund circulated a note to clients on Wednesday saying that the final beta version of Vista will be sent out later this week, leaving Microsoft set to hit its end-of-year deadline.

"We had been sceptical of the launch schedule, but the team seems to be making great progress in addressing issues of performance, reliability and compatibility," wrote Sherlund, according to Reuters.

But analysts at Gartner believe Microsoft could benefit by delaying Vista until Easter.

Gartner took issue with the timing of the Vista launch earlier this year, suggesting that ideally it should have been out in plenty of time for the crucial holiday season.

In response, Sherlund said the suggestion that Microsoft will offer coupons that PC makers can give away for a free upgrade to Vista may help reduce the negative impact of a later launch.

"This might help offset the apprehensions in the industry that the January launch of Vista...will negatively affect PC demand in the seasonally strongest holiday quarter as consumers hold off for the new product," Sherlund wrote.

Gartner also argued in September that a number of factors make it more likely Microsoft may delay the launch of Vista until at least May next year.

The reservations were laid out in a research note, titled "Events aligning to make Vista delay more likely," and take into account market, political and industry issues that the researcher said are beginning to stack up against Microsoft. The most significant are the ongoing legal battles between Microsoft and the European Commission.

Both Gartner and Goldman Sachs broadly agree that there is no technical reason why Vista should be delayed. Divergence of opinion between the analysts focuses on issues like the role of the European Commission.

On Wednesday, it emerged that Microsoft has appealed the 280 million euro ($350.8 million) fine imposed in July by the European Commission because the software giant failed to comply with its landmark antitrust ruling.

A delay for Vista now would be convenient for Microsoft, Gartner analyst David Mitchell-Smith argued, because "when people start complaining about the delay, Microsoft can reasonably say 'don't blame us' and point the finger at the EC."

Microsoft is "probably getting a bit tired" of the European Union's stance, suggested Mitchell-Smith. "It's not unreasonable to think so."

Mitchell-Smith also noted that Microsoft wants to avoid further litigation, as it is already facing legal action by Symantec and Adobe Systems.

"While it would go far to settle corporate lawsuits," Mitchell-Smith argued, "it is less likely to be able to resolve legal action by the EC as easily."

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
Rick Sherlund, Gartner Inc., Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Corp.

19 comments

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I can finally see the light..
So many cans of worms were opened with this last beta release I
really think that a spring release would be more realistic. Two of
the three computers I tried to run the latest build on wouldn't even
boot and the third got stuck in that wonderful black non supported
video driver error. Yes, there are work arounds but a consumer let
alone a business is not going to want to spend valuable IT time
fixing that. I can just see Cnet's first review "What a great OS this
could become, but wait until Microsoft releases Vista SP2, before
installing on your computer"
Posted by MRMOAV (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
RC1
had a problem on one of my 3 pc's...my toshiba notebook...got the black screen of death. That said Beta 2 did not.

There have been sevral new builds since RC1 that are not public already.

I am going to go out on a limb and say they will probably fix my black screen problem since it worked before, before Jan. XP drivers can easily be ported over to Vista....and I would asume between now and Jan alot of driver porting will be taking place.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Do us a favor Cnet...
And just tell us when it's been out for about 8 to 10 months.
That's about as early as it'd be safe to actually install the thing
on your system and expect it to work w/ the software/systems
you own and use right now.

There's a reason XP wasn't adopted by many until well after SP2,
and why some continue to use Windows 2000.

In short, the launch doesn't matter much to most folks besides
those interested the hype and retail consequences for new
systems. What matters is when its ready for real use on most
people's computers.
Posted by shanewalker (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The reasons
were cost...of CAL's/testing/and deploying and the total hype and BS that people like you spout.

I deployed XP early on and it was as stable as Windows 2000 Pro. XP did nothing really for stability, its major change was the firewall.....that really helped home users more than buisness users. If you run a buisness and expect the XP firewall to protect you....you a fool. Hopefully you have many layers of network/proxy protection....to the point of not even needing the XP firewall.

From my testing Vista RC1 is 99% ready for a buisness user....as in just as good as XP on boxes that have 1gig of RAM. Give it another few months and it will be ready to go. I would say its 95% ready for home users with older software compatibility being the biggest problem.

Once Vista is released the few reaminging software compatibilites will be handled by software vendors....IF....they dont want to screw you and charge for a patch in the form of a new version.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
Will Ship On Time In US
>Both Gartner and Goldman Sachs broadly agree that there is no technical reason why Vista should be delayed.<

Meaning that it will ship on time in the US market.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Already DIDN'T...
Dude, what are you smoking? It's already late.

Have a nice day!
Posted by lesfilip (496 comments )
Link Flag
Vista not ready
I'm not sure if they've actually tested the Vista Betas or not. The technical problems with the current betas indicate to me that there are many technical reasons not to ship Vista on time. Maybe they should do some testing themselves.
Posted by sammie52 (4 comments )
Link Flag
Better to be late and functional
Who cares if MS is late again. XP works and MS has already shot way past the Vista release date exit. At this point it is better to be late and functional than "on time....(lol)" and a package of pure crap.
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree
There are multiple problems with the current Vista beta. All you need do is check out some Vista beta testers forums.
Posted by sammie52 (4 comments )
Link Flag
Windows? blah
Who even cares? I'll bet we won't see a "working" vista for another year. They have been talking about the successor to XP for over 2 years now... MS is beginning its descent as the computing leader as far as I am concerned. It will always be an inferior platform relative to the unix based MAC OS unless there are some major changes to the company. Hell, my name is Bill Gates and I am a mac man...
Posted by William Gates (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
End-Users Upgrading their systems to Vista, Ha
If they allowed this to happen it would a support nightmare for Microsoft and the End-Users. The systems companies would get a black-eye in their customer support grade because they will probably either not support the upgrade at all or only for a limited amount of call time.
Either way there will be systems in various states of install without network connectivity, sound drivers, video drivers, not to mention that the security apps they were using with XP will no longer work.

Yeah, that's the ticket. Give the end-users an upgrade disk and let 'em go crazy.

Numb skulls.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WHAT?!?
MS has offered "upgrade" versions of every OS since 3.11 that I can remember... its never been a headache as far as I can recall. Why would it be now? Have you ever installed a Windows operating system? Various states of installation? Drivers missing? Um... no. Such issues are far less of a headache on Windows than they are on other operating systems. Besides, Microsoft has software that can examine your system configuration and tell you what will/won't work after the install. I see no reason for this to be a problem now, if it wasn't before. I'm guessing that you are speaking from the position of a person who has very little experience installing or updating Windows operating systems.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Upgraded
I have upgraded. Bought a bare bones system and added 256mb video card and amd 64 bit 3400 processor. It is fast and waiting for Vista in January.
Posted by RayMiller3 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Gartner is easier to believe...
A Wall Street firm's opinion about something that hasn't happened yet is not exactly truth hot off the "e-crystal ball".

Mostly, I suppose, because when a Wall Street firm says something they're undoubtedly trying to profit from (or, less likely, have their clients profit from) what they are saying, obscuring, implying, misleading, misdirecting, etc., etc. etc.
Posted by missingamerica (6147 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Released this decade, give or take a few YEARS
They are taking this long because they are "listening to their
customers".

Yeah, right.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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