November 8, 2006 10:24 AM PST

Microsoft: Vista is ready to roll

After five years and many twists and turns, Microsoft on Wednesday said that development of Windows Vista is complete.

Windows chief Jim Allchin said Microsoft signed off on the code less than an hour ago. "It's rock solid and we're ready to ship. This is a good day," Allchin said in a conference call.

Allchin said Vista will go on sale to consumers January 30. He said that Microsoft is releasing Vista in five languages. The French, Spanish and Japanese versions were actually signed off on before the English version, Allchin said.

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Video: First Look: Windows Vista RTM
Microsoft has released the update to hardware manufacturers. CNET's Robert Vamosi digs into the new Windows.

The software maker has scheduled a November 30 press conference to announce the new operating system, along with Office 2007. The releases, which mark major updates to Microsoft's two key money-makers, are scheduled to be made available to consumers early next year. Vista is slated to arrive on new PCs and on store shelves in January.

Microsoft's move caps an intense period for the Windows development team, which has raced to stamp out a number of bugs in test releases before declaring Vista code "golden" or final.

The company issued the first near-final release candidate of Vista in September. A second release candidate was made available in October.

The release of Vista will mark the first full fledged update to the desktop operating system since Windows XP in 2001. Among the changes coming with Vista are a new graphics engine and user interface, improved desktop searching and a new media player and Web browser. Also included are "under the hood" improvements in areas like security and manageability, as well as power management.

CNET editors' take
Windows Vista RTM
If Microsoft can fix some bugs by its self-imposed general availability date, Vista could be a worthy upgrade for most PC users.

Vista's debut has been a long time in the making. Microsoft announced detailed plans for a new Windows release, code-named Longhorn, at an October 2003 developer conference.

Eventually though, that ambitious plan was deemed unworkable, with the Windows team sent back to the drawing board to find more manageable ways to achieve some of the same goals, such as improved searching. Microsoft announced the change in plans in April 2004, saying it shift would allow it to have Vista on store shelves by this year's holiday season.

In March, though, Microsoft said that it would not have Vista ready for new PCs by the holidays. Instead, it would make it available to businesses in November and delay the broad launch until January.

Vista's last mile

With the code now final, computer makers can start their final testing and start building PCs with the new OS, though they are not expected to hit store shelves until Microsoft's formal launch in January.

Microsoft also needs hardware and software makers to finish writing drivers so that things like mice, keyboards, cameras and printers all work smoothly with the new OS.

Allchin said that Nvidia will later on Wednesday launch the first DirectX 10 graphics card. "I've played with it and it just is mindblowing when you couple it with Windows Vista," he said.

While Wednesday's announcement is the culmination of a long process, it likely will be many months if not years before most businesses are running Vista.

Microsoft has ambitious goals for Vista's deployment in businesses. Still, the company predicts that only 20 percent of PCs in large enterprises will be running Vista a year after launch. Only about 10 percent of businesses ran Windows XP, Vista's predecessor, a year after its release, according to research firm IDC.

Allchin said that, with Vista code done, businesses will "now start hard-core deployment testing" and make sure their applications work with the operating system.

"I've talked to some customers that are going to move quickly," he said. Others, he said, will upgrade as they buy new machines.

As for consumers, he said the move to Vista will be "fast and immediate."

"Businesses need to do their testing. They need to be very comfortable," he said. Allchin added that Vista has more tools now for testing application compatibility and other aspects of the operating system, easing transition planning for businesses. He said Microsoft has also tried to make it simpler for businesses once they are ready to install the software. "We've made deployment so much easier."

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Longhorn barbecue
Gentlemen, start your grills!
Posted by KonradK (65 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Come on now....
... as it is well known in cooking, baking... whatever - the proof of the "pudding" is in the eating; and, according to this article >>>> "Allchin said that, with Vista code done, businesses will "now start hard-core deployment testing" and make sure their applications work with the operating system.

"I've talked to some customers that are going to move quickly," he said. Others, he said, will upgrade as they buy new machines..."<<< so the thing is - how many serious professionals users of computer systems worldwide have had a go with "VISTA" todate that we can take "Allchin's word to the bank? Not perhaps for another year or so, after some more "bugs" have been worked around one might guess!
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So it took them 5 years to release something that can't compete with other OS's that were released 2+ years ago and is still missing features that are over 15 years old.

How is this something monumental?
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
it's monumental b/c...
it has better graphics which will keep your mind off viruses, spyware, security holes, and all other nice things. Oh and you get desktop all you need is a google desktop search which will probably work better than MS one, not to mention it's free. blah blah blah the list goes on
Posted by dondarko (261 comments )
Link Flag
Yay! It's about time they finally finished it really.

Oh well, I won't be able to afford it anyway... Hmm... I shall have to steal it, from a monkey... with no feet, and just one scarf. (The scarf is conveniently wrapped around eyes, so they cannot see me.)

Hmm... Now where will I find a monkey like that... :S. How much do monkey's cost again? Ugh... I'll just buy Vista instead...
Posted by o2mcgovem-20822100750713932708 (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
With so many known bugs that have yet to be addressed and features that were dumped so it could be released 2 years late, it is not finished.

Maybe by 2012 it will be finished.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Apple Anyone?
I don't see how microsoft's Vista can be considered "new" M$ Vista might aswell be "OS X emulator" just compare apple widgets, dashboard, finder and ilife, the only differance is the logo..and the HUGE amount of memory vista requires to run!...good luck to them anyway!
Posted by gr3g1234 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mac dubbed with vista's "new" features
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by gr3g1234 (2 comments )
Link Flag
You're right. It's not Apple OSX
And a good thing too. Now Apple will have a reason to come up with something original instead of ripping off other companie's products and ideas.

Let's get to it, Apple! Let's do something *original*! You haven't yet to date, but here's your chance!
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
The moment every hacker/organized crime programmer has been waiting for, a new piece of OS swiss-cheese from Microsoft.

It'll be a decade before any business can be seriously less suspicious of this than patched XP or W2000.
Posted by Sumatra-Bosch (526 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe you'll finally shut down
your ridiculous idea that there'll be a general meltdown.

FYI: Vista is the first consumer version of Windows MS has released since they performed their code review (which was a major factor in the wait time for this release of the OS) so it's much more likely to be more secure than XP which makes your vision of an apocalypse more wishful thinking than reality.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
Windows: A Necessary Evil.
No thanks, I'll wait a year or two, before I get a copy.

I'm not hurting to upgrade yet until after the second service
pack comes out. I wasn't all impressed with the last version of
Vista, RC1.

But, I just can't believe the hoopla surrounding Vista as of late.
Its quite comical. I'm sure all you MS SuperFans are with me on
this that it has been a long time coming.

For me though the Verdict is still out on Vista? Is Vista Hype or
hot air?
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista is a gutted version of the original concept
So what remains is Bling and the requirements of a newer and more powerful computer to run it.

The UI reminds me of playing Age of Empires, and the GINA replacement was a mistake in my opinion.
The UAC is going to be a nightmare and the EULA is a nightmarish joke.
Posted by fred dunn (793 comments )
Link Flag
I'll take my Vista preinstalled...
Like most people, I will upgrade to Vista when my current computer dies, and needs to be replaced.

In terms of bugs, I suspect that the initial release will be slightly rough, but not too bad.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There is no reason to ever move to Vista
Once your system needs replacement look into OS X or Linux. Both run a huge amount of windows apps easily and the list grows almost daily.

Neither have the bloat, security or licensing problems of Vista.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Not this time Microsoft
Hmmm - what am I or companies to gain with Vista? First, most people and corporations will not be even able to install it due to all the extreme system demands. Second, most large corporations will not even consider the OS for at least two years as they have learned their lesson from past OS releases with all the security and bugs - not to mention bugs MS doesn't even fix. As an IT professional, I would not even consider it until I see MS has worked out most of the bugs and how it fares with legacy Apps that still run Corp America today - much much to risky for even small companies to consider, besides, what will Vista deliver to most companies using their computer for daily business computing - Nothing!!!

I think I speak for the vast majority of corporate IT professionals - It will be at least 18 to 24 months before we even bring it into our IT department for testing before we roll it out to our employees and the rest of company. Think about it - a company with 2000 computers currently in use and MS wants us to upgrade to Vista - I don't think so - not even in the forseeable future.

VB/VBA/SQL Programmer
Posted by macromike (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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