updated 02:05 pm EDT, Wed July 12, 2006
Another Vista delay?
Microsoft's next-generation "Vista" operating system may see further delays even after a decision by MS execs to scrap the project, which was followed by numerous setbacks and criticism from industry watchers. Microsoft chairman and former CEO Bill Gates today said there is an 80 percent chance that the software giant's Windows Vista operating system will be ready in January, but noted that he would delay the launch if beta testing revealed issues, according to The Wall Street Journal. "We got to get this absolutely right," Gates said. "If the feedback from the beta tests shows it is not ready for prime time, I'd be glad to delay it."
Vista Delay bodes well for Apple, ill for Microsoft
Microsoft in March announced a delay in the consumer launch of Windows Vista, attributing the setback to undesirable timing with partners. Analysts took the news as positive for Apple, saying that Vista's delay could result in a 5 percent negative impact on December 2006 revenue and earnings estimates for Microsoft while potentially increasing market share for the Cupertino-based company.
Frustration mounted following the company's decision to push back Vista's release, causing an uproar within Microsoft's own ranks with employees calling for the removal of upper management, including executive officer Steve Balmer himself.
"We're missing the holiday sales market," wrote one anonymous employee. "Not only did we miss last year's opportunity, we're missing this year's opportunity, too."
Followers voice discontent
A Windows enthusiast and author of more than a dozen books about Microsoft's operating system in April described in great detail where he believed Vista failed.
"Since the euphoria of PDC 2003, Microsoft's handling of Windows Vista has been abysmal," wrote Paul Thurrott. "The entire project was literally restarted from scratch after it became obvious that the initial code base was a teetering, technological house of cards."
Thurrott had spent over 10 years investigating Microsoft and its products, saying that the company is collapsing under its own weight.
Further delays predicted
Gartner Research in early May predicted that Microsoft would yet again delay the release of Windows Vista, pointing to its development cycle, previous release cycles, code complexity, and lofty feature targets.
"Microsoft's track record is clear; it consistently misses target dates for major operating system releases," Gartner told clients.
Computerworld in early June listed "20 things you won't like about Windows Vista," and dubbed Apple's Mac OS X the best operating system on the market. The publication placed Windows Vista as "a distant second-best" to Mac OS X, with Linux and Windows 2000 tying each other "a notch or two" below Vista.
More troubles in Redmond
Microsoft in late June announced the cancellation of the WinFS file system in Windows Vista, one of the most anticipated features to debut in the company's already delayed and widely-criticized operating system. Microsoft had previously planned to ship the WinFS file system shortly after Windows Vista, but later said that WinFS would not ship separately, and that some of the features would be included in a later product.
"This was the major feature of Windows Vista," said analyst Joe Wilcox of Jupiter Research. "It was part of the operating system and it was an opportunity for developers. Spreading it out into other things that might appear someday is not the same thing."