Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system will now not be generally available until next January, after the company said it was behind schedule in tackling security and usability issues in the system.
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Microsoft Windows head Jim Allchin said, “We needed just a few more weeks. We're trying to crank up the security level.”
As recently as January, Allchin said Microsoft was on schedule to launch Vista this year, but he had warned that quality issues would delay the launch if necessary.
Despite these issues, Microsoft said that business users would have access to the new operating system from November. “Because of the way businesses test and deploy software, it makes sense for Microsoft volume licensing customers to receive windows Windows Vista starting in November of this year,” the company said.
Microsoft had previously blamed the amount of time it had spent on promoting and distributing Windows XP Service Pack 2 in 2004 and 2005 for getting behind with its Vista development.
It released the most recent test version of Vista last month, and plans an updated test version during the next quarter, which will be released to about two million users around the world.
As Microsoft has delayed the launch of Vista, it is not known whether its launch plans for the next version of the Office productivity suite will also be delayed.
Microsoft had also planned to launch Office 2007 by the end of the year, around the same time as Vista.
The delay, announced by Microsoft yesterday, means the channel will now not have new Vista-driven PC products for sale in time for Christmas, a blow for resellers at the busiest time of the year.
Microsoft has been promoting a Vista launch sometime towards the end of this year for well over a year. Its loose scheduling information had been partly blamed by analysts for a dip in PC sales growth in western European markets, as users waited for a Vista launch.
Microsoft’s decision will now put the channel in a panic as it has to re-think its marketing strategy for the new operating system.