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Summary:

Update: Mike asks, why didn’t Microsoft simply offer free upgrades to users who would buy computers in the holiday season, instead of announcing delays? My theory is that they are not too confident that they can actually ship the product and get all the kinks worked […]

Update: Mike asks, why didn’t Microsoft simply offer free upgrades to users who would buy computers in the holiday season, instead of announcing delays? My theory is that they are not too confident that they can actually ship the product and get all the kinks worked out in time – or anytime soon! Okay that was just a mean joke.

Microsoft Corp just released a press release outlining the Windows Vista update schedule which confirms a delay consumer version of the Vista software by almost six months. The consumer launch of Windows Vista operating system was supposed to happen in the second half of 2006, but Microsoft will now ship this in January 2007.

….is on target to go into broad consumer beta to approximately 2 million users in the second quarter of 2006. Microsoft is on track to complete the product this year, with business availability in November 2006 and broad consumer availability in January 2007.

This could really put the chill on the PC industry, which has been counting on a Vista driven upgrade cycle. They say that the corporate version of the OS will ship on time. I wonder if that really means anything, given that corporate buyers are notoriously slow upgraders. What I find highly amusing, as pointed out by Paul Kedrosky, that a week ago Steve Ballmer was claiming Vista 2H 2006. What happened?

Of course, this is also a sign of a company which is fighting many wars (not battles) on many fronts, struggling to gain ground against rivals as diverse as Apple, Google, and Nokia. At some point the company will have to regroup and make some key and painful strategic decisions. Meanwhile, the blog party continues at Mix 06.

Update: The crisis is bigger than it seems. There has been a management shake-up, and according to WSJ, Steven Sinofsky, 40 years old, and a Microsoft veteran has been brought in. He served as Bill Gates technical assistant, and till today was one of the big wheels at Microsoft’s Office group.

Microsoft’s Office group is known for a more disciplined management style, and has tended to pump out new products on a timely, predictable schedule. By contrast, the Windows group has always valued engineering prowess over management oversight.

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  1. Steve Jobs is going to have a field day with this at Mac World Expo January ’07 when at that time Apple will probably be ready to announced Mac OS X 10.5

  2. IT: Interesting Tangents Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Windows Vista release delayed

    Surprised?
    I didn’t think so.
    At least this time they won’t have to keep changing the name every time it gets delayed.
    But what affect will this announcement really have? It seems to me, as a Mac user and IT professional working in a techno…

  3. Press release link is out of whack, Om.

  4. i am not sure what steve jobs is going to do, but this is time for microsoft to get focused. i don’t think this is an easy one to spin. i mean a week ago, all is fine, and then suddenly everything is delayed because the retailers don’t want them to release anything in the middle of the holiday season. ha

  5. TDavid, i just checked the link, it seems to work. sorry for the trouble though – let me know if you are still having problems

  6. This isn’t out of the ordinary for MSFT or Vista, in general. My guess says they found some last minute blocking bugs they wanted to catch in time without suffering a PR nightmare upon release (which may happen anyway).

  7. By contrast, the Windows group has always valued engineering prowess over management oversight.

    Does anyone have a definition of engineering prowess handy by chance?

  8. Well, according to Mini-Microsoft, there is too much ‘Management Oversight’ and very little value for ‘Engineering Prowess’ at the Windows group! :D

  9. Here is an interesting perspective on Windows Vista and how it will affect online video, music, and photos.

    Why Windows Vista Delay is Bad News for Apple and Google

  10. This isn’t a Microsoft problem, its an Intel problem. I find it hard to belive that they wouldn’t just work their engineers overtime for the next six months to make up the 4 or 5 week delay. They have had six years to work on this thing, and they need another month?? Nah. I bet Intels 64 bit chip will be delayed from Q306 to Q107, and Microsft is doing them a favor given they have been bleeding market share to AMD. (remeber MS dropped AMD at the last minute for xbox chips, so i think its safe to say there is some bad blood there… so why not piss them off again.)

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