March 21, 2006 3:01 PM PST

Vista debut hits a delay

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Microsoft on Tuesday announced a delay of Windows Vista that will mean PCs with the new operating system won't go on sale until January.

The software maker said it will still wrap up development of the operating system this year and make it available to volume-licensing customers in November. However, Microsoft said 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.

Listen up

During a Tuesday conference call, Windows chief Jim Allchin speaks to reporters and analysts about the Vista delay.

Download mp3 (3.7MB)

"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 during a Tuesday afternoon conference call with reporters and analysts.

The delay is the latest setback for Vista. Microsoft scaled back several key features of the operating system last year in order to try to ensure a 2006 release. The operating system, which has been in development for years, was delayed by, among other things, the fact that Microsoft had to put so much time and testing effort into Windows XP Service Pack 2, a largely security-oriented upgrade to the current version of Windows.

Vista's changing vista

Tuesday's delay in the release of Vista wasn't supposed to happen. In 2004 Microsoft specifically removed a key ingredient, called WinFS, from the new operating system so that it could assure PC makers of delivery of the OS for the crucial holiday selling season. Here are quotes on Vista's schedule from two top Microsoft executives:

Allchin said that although PC makers were not universal in wanting the delay, there were concerns from some companies that they could not ensure a holiday quarter launch if Microsoft pushed back its development schedule even slightly.

Analysts have been warning that Microsoft's schedule left little room for error if it was to make a fourth-quarter launch.

As recently as January, Allchin expressed confidence that Microsoft would make its deadline, although he reiterated his caveat that quality issues could lead to a postponement.

The delay would likely hurt retail PC vendors the most, said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD Techworld. Dell, which sells most of its PCs directly, could probably handle a delay of a few weeks without too much trouble. Hewlett-Packard and Gateway, on the other hand, have to have their PCs ready for retail partners weeks ahead of when they will actually go on sale, and can't change gears as quickly, he said.

"It scares you," Baker said, when asked about the impact of the delay on fourth-quarter PC sales. The PC industry's largest quarter of the year always comes around the holiday shopping season, and expectations were high for that period this year, given the expected introduction of the new operating system.

Microsoft does not expect the move to affect this year's overall PC sales, Allchin said.

"There's no (change) to the PC forecast from our perspective," he said. "You can ask the partners what they think."

Allchin also said the product will still launch in the same earnings period for Microsoft, whose fiscal year runs from July to June. That means Microsoft's overall business for next year shouldn't be affected, he said.

Tweaks in the works
Allchin said some of the additional time would be used to ensure security levels, and the company is also working on ironing out usability issues.

"We're trying to crank up the security level higher than ever," Allchin said. "This came down to a few weeks. We're trying to do the responsible thing here."

Windows Vista
Getting a handle on the update.

Microsoft released its most recent test version of Vista in February. Late that month, the company also announced plans for six distinct editions of the operating system.

Allchin said Tuesday that Microsoft still plans next quarter to launch a broader test version of Vista, with the new version to be tested by about 2 million people.

Microsoft had hoped to have a massive marketing push around Vista and Office 2007, which is slated for the second half of this year. It is not immediately clear how the delay will affect those plans.

Allchin, whose official title is co-president of Microsoft's platform, products and services division, is slated to retire later this year.

CNET's Tom Krazit contributed to this report.

See more CNET content tagged:
Jim Allchin, delay, PC company, Microsoft Longhorn, holiday


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And this is news?
How many delays has VISTA seen?
Posted by originalbitman (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Am I the Only One...
...who is bored over these Vista stories? Is there really a big demand for Vista?
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just give up
Seriously... who cares at this point. I have no faith at all in this company of delivering anything that actually helps the consumer. 6 versions of Vista and that worthless browser duct-tapped to the OS is all you need to know about what the company thinks of the end user.

If they had any type of leadership that represented the users, knew computing and didn't need to be shown "trends" like the internet then we might get a decent new OS.
Posted by JJWhitney (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mac x86 & 10.5 Leopard in 2006, Forget Vista!
Just get an x86 Mac and run Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), which IS
due in 2006, plus if you really need Win XP, you can run it:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

Also, a Mac version of VMWare is due soon...

M$ already chopped out the three major Longhorn features, so
now Windows VISTA (Viruses, Infections, Spyware, Trojans,
Adware) will be even later...
Posted by libertyforall1776 (650 comments )
Reply Link Flag
volume licensing customers
Any VLC with any brains what so ever won't go near Vista for a year at least. All this does is get vista in the HANDS of their VLC and even then most of those people who are really large VLC already are getting monthly builds of Vista. All this is, is a way to put their best face forward.
Seriously any company that touches Vista in 2007 deserves all the headaches that come with it. Now 2008....that's another matter altogether.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista Problems
I won't buy it then either... I'm not going to buy another
Windows machine until I absolutely have too!.. But if you were to
ask me what I'm going buy next, with my hard earned money? ..
I'm going to check out an IMAC... it makes sense to buy an
Apple in this day in age...


Apple is the only company that is delivering on their promises,
even sometimes ahead of schedule!!.. Plus they are working so
hard for consumer's dollars these days, not like the Apple I knew
from the past. It makes sense to buy from a company that has
innovative products with vision.. and stop buying from (or
rewarding) a company that provides mediocre products with
unrealistic goals.

MS has huge eternal issues within.. They made a pile of money
since '95 they have amassed a totally monopoly over the PC
Industry.. and in feeling over-confident in this they think they
have the right to dictate how the computer industry should be

I say no way..

Besides have you seen the pricing model MS released for Vista??
What a mess!! Its absolute nonsense! That pricing model alone
shows how MS cares for consumer's money and not consumer's

Also whats with that whole Origami fiasco.. when are we going
to see results in this..

I also think Jim Allchin should retire now.. to save face from
Vista.. I think its going to turn out embarassing in the end.
Vista was a mess from the very beginning. Delay after Delay
after Delay after Delay. MS lately hasn't Walked the walk just
Talked the talk.
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bwa ha ha! LOL
And they had to squeeze it into January in order to make it a virtual

It's not ready.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Boy, didn't see that coming! <insert sarcasm here>
Posted by NeverFade (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Delaying any MS product is a gift.
It is that much longer until the next big wave of system downtime, viruses of mass destruction, etc.
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Jurassic Park + Dinosaurs
Jurassic Park (Redmond One) at its' finest!!!

IRONY: The Microsloth commercials of the "dinosaurs-in-the-Office" who have NOT upgraded for an eon, but still are lumbering around in the past, banging their heads against the walls...

THAT commercial was the REAL MS VISTA OS commercial we've been hearing some much about...!

2003 &#38; counting for promise after promise after promise, delays after delays, all the while the Windows Developers &#38; customers are holding the bag of dinasaur bones &#38; praying for no more patches &#38; viruses &#38; Trojan Horses &#38; worms &#38; blue screens of death...

Everytime Mirosloth &#38; Jurassic Park stumble I get a ton of people wanting an escape hatch out of their dungeon of doom from Gates &#38; Co.

Thank you Citizen Gates &#38; Big Brother Ballmer!

P.S.: I KNOW WHAT HAPPENED! Jurassic Park is secretly working on their AstalaVista Micro OS for those $100 MIT computers &#38; Origamis for the Gates Foundation to hand out for the Holidays to all of his friends in the Third World.
What a nice bunch of guys...

That's what caused the delay in AstalaVista OS for the masses. Right?
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why Can't They Do An In-place Upgrade?
If I were Microsoft, what I would do starting in Q2 of this year would be to provide computer manufacturers with a binary image of Vista that would be pre-loaded on new computers in anticipation of the launch date. Let's say the launch date ends up being January 2, 2007. Customers who purchased a new Vista-certified computer between Q2-06 and Q1-07 would simply click a Windows Vista update icon on their computer which would:

a) Backup current XP config to create an undo
b) Download Vista code changes from that occurred since Q2-06 (rollforward)
c) Perform an in-place upgrade to Vista
d) Archive XP to a DVD ROM and remove it from the HD

This is similar to what a number of computer mfgs. did when transitioning from Windows 98 to Windows 2000. When the customer first turned on their new computer, it asked them if they wanted to install Windows 98 or Windows 2000. I don't see why Microsoft, which hires all those smart "why are manhole covers round?" people doesn't do this. They claim to want to sell more "software as a service" anyway, why not use as a true software distribution mechanism?
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
buyers remorse?
so.... corporate version will still be released in November 2007, but consumer versions are in January 2007? That makes no sense. How is one version going to be ready before the other -- don't they all use the same technology?

Also, the reason they are giving for the delay is to improve security. Does that mean the (on time) corporate version won't have any security? :)

Also, does that mean computer manufacturers are going to make one last push to clear the decks of underpowered computers before Christmas, then launch Vista computers in January -- making all those new Christmas computers obsolete?
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just when a corner was turned...Billy strikes again
There are many important aspects of this story, so it's hard to know where to start, but I'll begin with Billy.
After a hugely positive couple of weeks for Mr. Softie, this story is absolutely devastating to Microsoft, computer users, and MSFT shareholders.
First, on the timing, I know many people who have set "Christmas" time as the approximate time they would purchase a new computer. The timing here is appalling, unacceptable, and worth of heads rolling. After the XBox 05 fiasco, how, HOW! could they allow this to happen. Oh, that's right, we all asked that about the XBox (I'm not a gamer, but if I bought a box, it would be XB) when inexplicably there were horrific shortages for the holidays.
If this is such a promising and safer OS--and I truly believe it is--then someone must be held accountable here. For shareholders living with this long-time, non-moving stock, this should be the final straw. Somebody must be held accountable. Should it be Billy? The newly fit Mr. Ballmer? Running a corporation is about more than tossing chairs over losing employees to the don't be evil boys. It should be about accountability...and this is where Microsoft seems to answer to noone.
Just as the immensely impressive Live is getting rave reviews and even speculation of a spin-off, Billy drops this on our laps. Mr. Gates has been talking a good game about security, and Microsoft Defender has received positive reviews.
With Google receiving constantly fawning press coverage (another example today with the coverage of Google finance, and how it will hurt the big players, Yahoo Fianance, MSN Money,CNN Money, etc. This assumes that everyone will just switch to Google Finance, a suggestion I don't accept), it is very important to have competition in the tech field.
I'm anxious to see how MSFT and the media covers this story. At, not a mention of this debacle.
Mr. Gates, Stevie,, I've trashed IE7 as slow , ugly, bulky, and unimpressive, yet love Live (but decry the beta only of an attractive free e-mail service for it), so I try to be fair, as I admire your company and its employees.
You have disappointed a lot of computer users and profoundly let down your shareholders.

Thank you.
EJ Passeos
Posted by ejpasseos (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who Cares?
They can delay it until 2010 and I still would not care. Screw MS!
Posted by microsoft slayer (174 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ye what?
So its not good enough for general release until january '07 but they will release the crap onto volume license purchasers in november this year? Surely it`s just as not ready for them as for everybody else?
Posted by alba tross (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Working on security what??
What on earth does Micro$oft care about security?

You can delay forever and I don't care.

Use Fedora 5! or Mac OS!
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
The Sorrow and the Pity
Well, the torture never stops. Bulkier and unwieldier the Jabba
himself, Microsoft is its own worst enemy. What if they broke
themselves into industry specific segments that could move
more quickly and efficiently? For example, they could custom
develop applications and aspects of the OS for financial services,
for government, for audio and video finishing, and so on. This
would potentially foil malware makers and address the needs of
a growingly disparate marketplace. It might also create TRUE
innovation, an quality that currently eludes them. Living in a
shop which utilizes Apple and Microsoft products, I must assert
that I pity those stuck in the MS trenches 24/7. Apple is agile.
MS lumbers, a victim of its own "success."
Posted by rslavelle (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Delay may be bad for Google and Apple
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by mrwavetheory (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple Users (please read)
While I appreciate what Apple users love about the entire Apple phenomenon I'm perplexed by their visceral hatred towards everything Microsoft. Though I use a PC every day I've used Macs and I think they have some very innovative products. For my own personal uses I prefer the PC to a Mac but I don't spend my days bashing Apple. Personally I think the computer someone chooses is as individual a choice as which car they buy or what color they paint their house, no right or wrong answer, just personal preference.

That being said I have the following request of the Macintosh majority amongst the Cnet posters:

Please stop the senseless bashing of Microsoft in every article related to the company or the PC.

For those of us who are PC users it makes it that much harder to get a feel for actual user opinions and experiences when 75% of the posts are simply "Windows Sucks". Assuming you all believe what you preach on the boards and posts can't you just sit back, enjoy your superior OS and hardware, and SILENTLY mock us poor stupid fools who us PC's and Microsoft's software?
Posted by Nobody9999 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tweaks in the works
I hope MS use the time to reconsider including a DRM off function. Nobody wants DRM and it is putting people off upgrading from XP.
Posted by Frogfart (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS's best days are behind them
Loser, the entire group. If it wasn't for Bill Gates talents at being a criminal, stealing other technologies, we would never have heard of Microsoft to begin with. The rest of the world is abandoning Microsoft, it is about time the US and Britan wake up and see what is going on around us.
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting another slipped deadline for a bloated OS
What a dissappointment? I'm already disturbed by the fact that
the OS has high-end PC requirements. Looks like no cheap PC's
can run it, so much for the argument of cheaper PCs.

"Windows Vista will have a Hardware checker and it will rate your
system on how well it will run Vista. Look for Vista to have really
strick requirements for optimal performance. I heard reports
that it needs at least 128MB of VRAM on a discrete card to run
correctly with all the eyecandy. That will leave a lot of PC owners
looking to upgrade"

Thank you Linux and Apple for providing an OS that works on
systems that don't require optimum/high-end hardware. Nice to
see we can do more with less hardware than with the Microsoft

Also, why is Microsoft including two versions of DirectX (9 and
10 - they say for perfomance improvements) in VISTA? *** is
with that? They massively change the APIs loosing backward
compatibility so they have both versions eating up more
precious resources on your computer. So, for gamers if you want
to run your old stuff you are stuck with more bloat on your
hardware. Gee, after 9 versions you cannot keep your APIs
stable? Microsoft you write crap!
Posted by curtegg (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Make sure its better on security front
It is understandable that MS is pushing for more security and this delay is worthwhile from common user perspective as he is the one who suffers most from security related problems. Big companies have money and infrastructure to employ custom security enhencement but common user and small businesses.
Posted by pankaj0684 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ms vs Apple
Having worked in the coputer field since the days of the Commodore, Color Computer, and Atari, flame wars have been resplendent. Years of experience with thousands of end-users has led me to believe that people tend to support that which they can personally utilize. The Mac OS is a very powerful system as is Microsoft's, but the learning curve to truly master either is daunting for anyone. Apple's hardware has always held a solid place in high-end graphic and video applications, but how many people are qualified to function that type of complex software environment. Microsoft opted for a totally different approach, Oversimplfication! Attempt to make a complex piece of electronic hardware useable to the masses. Initially, the idea was a good one, but over the years, they have created a user base that has come to expect that same over-simplified system. Sorry, but there is no way any OS can solve problems like steadily changing formats of streaming data, broadband, CD and DVD formats etc.. The bottom line is simple, if you oversimplify too much, the end product becomes almost unwieldly. Like a frying pan with ten handles. All you really need is one, and if the end user cannot figure that out, then what they really need to do, is learn how to cook! The mere ownership of a Lamborghini does not make one a qualified driver.
Posted by Wiz Wildstar (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Macs run Windows better anyway... look....
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>

&lt;--- silly CNET can't do long links.
Posted by TyTyson (154 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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