March 24, 2006 11:18 AM PST

Week in review: Vista off in the distance

Microsoft dominated this week's headlines after announcing it will delay the release of its long-awaited Vista operating system until after this year's holiday shopping season.

The software giant said Tuesday that it would push back the consumer version of Windows Vista until January 2007 from a previous target of late 2006.

Microsoft will still wrap up development of the operating system this year and make it available to volume-licensing customers in November. But 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.

Fresh on the heels of the Vista delay, Microsoft confirmed later in the week that it is also pushing back the mainstream launch of Office 2007 to next year. As with Vista, the company hopes to finish the code for Office 2007 this year and will make it available to business customers that have signed up for the volume-licensing program.

Microsoft said the Vista launch was delayed for the benefit of computer makers, retailers and other partners. But analysts and others immediately challenged that assessment. Some said missing the holiday season was bad news for the whole industry and PC makers in particular.

Others analysts said Microsoft's pain will likely be Apple Computer's gain, because the Mac maker is already strong in areas where Microsoft has promised to deliver key improvements with Vista: security and features such as video and photo editing and search.

Meanwhile, the news created quite a stir around the virtual water cooler, with Web reaction running the gamut: Some were critical of Microsoft, saying the move is disappointing consumers, partners and stockholders. Others commended the company for taking the extra time to launch a solid product right out of the box.

CNET News.com readers were among the many to voice opinions. Among the 90 Talkback comments on the breaking Vista delay story, one theme was an overall lack of surprise, given Microsoft's track record of delays.

"Boy, didn't see that coming! (insert sarcasm here)," wrote reader Jeffrey J.

Others, like Ej Passeos, commented on the bad timing of the delay, which for "shareholders living with this long-time, non-moving stock," should be the final straw.

"I know many people who have set 'Christmas' time as the approximate time they would purchase a new computer," he wrote. "The timing here is appalling, unacceptable, and worth of heads rolling."

Following the Vista delay, word surfaced of a planned management shakeup at Microsoft. On Thursday, Steve Sinofsky was formally named as head of its Windows division as part of a reorganization to better align its Windows unit and its online MSN operations with its Live strategy. Some are wondering whether it's sheer coincidence that the move came just a few days after the Vista delay.

The latest Vista delay highlights a mounting challenge for Microsoft--finding a way to update its most important product on any kind of reasonable schedule. With all the setbacks, it will be more than five years between Windows XP and Windows Vista. And for even that delivery schedule, Microsoft had to scale back many of the major advances that were planned for the new operating system.

That said, Microsoft has been playing catch-up with the changing times, readying a full slate of software and hosted services for building Web applications on a range of devices, from desktop PCs to mobile phones. Some of those were showcased this week at Microsoft's Mix '06 conference in Las Vegas.

Following his keynote speech at the gathering, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates spoke to CNET News.com about the push into hosted services, competition with Google, and mobile computing.

Also at the conference, another Microsoft executive said U.S consumers bought more Windows Media Center-equipped PCs than the standard edition of Windows XP last month, and sales of Media Center will reach 10 million by the end of March.

They've got game

One of the big stories from the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., this week was the confirmation of a November release for the PlayStation 3. In a speech Wednesday, Sony Computer Entertainment President Phil Harrison also said the company is committed to a simultaneous worldwide launch of the PS3 in Japan, the rest of Asia, North America, Europe and Australia. Sony will produce about a million PS3s per month and capacity will ramp up quickly, he added.

The question Sony will have to face until November, and for at least a year afterward, is whether the head start Microsoft got with its November 2005 launch of the Xbox 360 console will be too much for Sony to overcome.

Also at the conference, Microsoft announced that it plans to increase its weekly distribution of the Xbox 360 game console by at least twofold.

The software giant said the addition of a new manufacturing partner, Celestica, will allow it to ship "two to three times" more Xbox 360s to retailers each week. Celestica joins Wistron and Flextronics in manufacturing the system and components for Microsoft.

The announcement coincides with Microsoft's release of its new spring line of games. The company also announced additions to its downloadable digital-content zone, Xbox Live Marketplace, which it says is being used by more than 85 percent of connected Xbox users.

Other issues discussed at the conference were mobile gaming and challenges for the little guys to compete with giant publishing houses like Electronic Arts; and the serious-game genre, and what those involved must do to keep it alive and strong.

CONTINUED: Nobel Peace Prize for games?…
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36 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Microsoft Windows Vista Delay
What a surprise! Let's see, they have never made a release date yet. Weather planned or not, it a good way to keep business on Windows by letting them think that the new features they are looking for are just around the corner.

Open Source is looking better all the time.

Seen like they should not announce the estimated release date unless or until there is a 80% chance they are going to make it.
Posted by radius7 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft has to make predictions of the release
Microsoft has to make predictions of release dates. This helps hardware and software manufactures to make their own forecasts.

Linux has lots of industry support. But even now there is not a single version, which makes it easy for a lay user to install easily. It is just the fact of software development.

Microsoft's delay in a long run is good for them. Microsoft knows for sure that if they cannot get Vista right for the first time, there is potential for them to falter as a OS company.
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
Link Flag
What people don't realize...
... is that with yet another delay, companies that were willing to
upgrade to Vista immediately will probably wait a year, or two, to
let the software mature. That means no major sales of Vista until
at least 2009.
Posted by zmonster (272 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft Windows Vista Delay
What a surprise! Let's see, they have never made a release date yet. Weather planned or not, it a good way to keep business on Windows by letting them think that the new features they are looking for are just around the corner.

Open Source is looking better all the time.

Seen like they should not announce the estimated release date unless or until there is a 80% chance they are going to make it.
Posted by radius7 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft has to make predictions of the release
Microsoft has to make predictions of release dates. This helps hardware and software manufactures to make their own forecasts.

Linux has lots of industry support. But even now there is not a single version, which makes it easy for a lay user to install easily. It is just the fact of software development.

Microsoft's delay in a long run is good for them. Microsoft knows for sure that if they cannot get Vista right for the first time, there is potential for them to falter as a OS company.
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
Link Flag
What people don't realize...
... is that with yet another delay, companies that were willing to
upgrade to Vista immediately will probably wait a year, or two, to
let the software mature. That means no major sales of Vista until
at least 2009.
Posted by zmonster (272 comments )
Link Flag
I dont get it
Why do so many people really care if its delayed....especially on this site. I mean 90% of comments here are ANTI-MS proclaming the greatness of Linux and MAC's.

How does it affect you? Would you rather have a new version of OS a few months earlier with possible bugs? Or a more stable version?

Is it the fact that you just cant wait to complain about it?
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
History
If a company is seemingly so inefficient that it can't hit target
dates, even close, then people wonder about the product and the
company, and if the end product will be worth the wait.

Human nature.
Posted by Gromit801 (393 comments )
Link Flag
I wouldn't as much about the delays...
... as I would about some of the other stuff going on with MS. Just read some of the blogs of people that work at Microsoft (who seem pretty certain that Vista is more likey to slip to 3Q2007).

Stuff like this (from Microsoft employees) doesn't inspire a lot of confidence:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2006/03/vista-2007-fire-leadership-now.html" target="_newWindow">http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2006/03/vista-2007-fire-leadership-now.html</a>
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Link Flag
You don't get it?
Hey, I'm one of those who uses a PC, and I wouldn't be fool enough to run out and buy Vista before it'd been around at least 2-3 years (y'know, time enough to work out the nastiest of the bugs....). Maybe they'll work them out of Office 2007 also. You think? Naaah.
Posted by sandsurfer (2 comments )
Link Flag
I dont get it
Why do so many people really care if its delayed....especially on this site. I mean 90% of comments here are ANTI-MS proclaming the greatness of Linux and MAC's.

How does it affect you? Would you rather have a new version of OS a few months earlier with possible bugs? Or a more stable version?

Is it the fact that you just cant wait to complain about it?
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Reply Link Flag
History
If a company is seemingly so inefficient that it can't hit target
dates, even close, then people wonder about the product and the
company, and if the end product will be worth the wait.

Human nature.
Posted by Gromit801 (393 comments )
Link Flag
I wouldn't as much about the delays...
... as I would about some of the other stuff going on with MS. Just read some of the blogs of people that work at Microsoft (who seem pretty certain that Vista is more likey to slip to 3Q2007).

Stuff like this (from Microsoft employees) doesn't inspire a lot of confidence:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2006/03/vista-2007-fire-leadership-now.html" target="_newWindow">http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2006/03/vista-2007-fire-leadership-now.html</a>
Posted by Zymurgist (397 comments )
Link Flag
You don't get it?
Hey, I'm one of those who uses a PC, and I wouldn't be fool enough to run out and buy Vista before it'd been around at least 2-3 years (y'know, time enough to work out the nastiest of the bugs....). Maybe they'll work them out of Office 2007 also. You think? Naaah.
Posted by sandsurfer (2 comments )
Link Flag
Robert Scoble of Microsoft Responds
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/03/24/where-the-heck-is-scoble/" target="_newWindow">http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/03/24/where-the-heck-is-scoble/</a>

get the full scoop from Scoble
Posted by jowyang (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Robert Scoble of Microsoft Responds
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/03/24/where-the-heck-is-scoble/" target="_newWindow">http://scobleizer.wordpress.com/2006/03/24/where-the-heck-is-scoble/</a>

get the full scoop from Scoble
Posted by jowyang (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You complain if its too soon, you complain if its delayed
I don't get it everyone complains how Microsoft rushes their product to the market before it is ready which causes headaches for the users and now everyone is complaining when they delay it. What do you want a half fast done product or maybe one that is a little more finished an polished
Posted by Makita82 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You complain if its too soon, you complain if its delayed
I don't get it everyone complains how Microsoft rushes their product to the market before it is ready which causes headaches for the users and now everyone is complaining when they delay it. What do you want a half fast done product or maybe one that is a little more finished an polished
Posted by Makita82 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
shopping list
december:
new computer (xp)
january:
new computer (vista)
february:
mac

and then to finish stick linux on the first two
Posted by ufundo (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
shopping list
december:
new computer (xp)
january:
new computer (vista)
february:
mac

and then to finish stick linux on the first two
Posted by ufundo (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
vista Microsoft
it is the best thing it could happen to Microsoft, and the rest of the tech user as this rapid expansion of IT is not beneficial to the human neither to the business, things go to fast and as a result they become worthless before you can blink your eye, in fact Gates is doing a service to humanity by keeping a lid on this systems, to bad for the gamers and speed freaks but in the long run to cool things down will do a lot of good to your mind.
put your money in broadband and hand held devices, as that will be the near future.
the long run demands time and reviews, after reviews, test after test and them the product will be worth it and so the eager customer that is spending to much in useless items creating a meltdown on the market and on the ice caps, will feel proud of his new acquisition.
the fact is Mr gates deserves a thanks even if he planned things differently.
such is the in-expectancy of life.
Posted by at2rty (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
vista Microsoft
it is the best thing it could happen to Microsoft, and the rest of the tech user as this rapid expansion of IT is not beneficial to the human neither to the business, things go to fast and as a result they become worthless before you can blink your eye, in fact Gates is doing a service to humanity by keeping a lid on this systems, to bad for the gamers and speed freaks but in the long run to cool things down will do a lot of good to your mind.
put your money in broadband and hand held devices, as that will be the near future.
the long run demands time and reviews, after reviews, test after test and them the product will be worth it and so the eager customer that is spending to much in useless items creating a meltdown on the market and on the ice caps, will feel proud of his new acquisition.
the fact is Mr gates deserves a thanks even if he planned things differently.
such is the in-expectancy of life.
Posted by at2rty (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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