updated 04:50 pm EDT, Mon August 21, 2006
MS, Vista incentives
Microsoft said it will request that PC makers offer upgrade incentives to shoppers in an effort to avoid slow holiday sales. Retailers worry that sales of systems loaded with Windows XP will slip in the fourth quarter of 2006 prior to the launch of Windows Vista, which is slated for shipment for consumers in January of 2007, according to a report from Taipei. Customers will likely hold out for PCs bundled with the new operating system, rather than make a purchase prior to Vista's release with Windows XP pre-loaded on the computer. "We'll encourage our partners to provide incentives to promote the sales," said Alex Huang, regional director of Greater China for Microsoft. PC shoppers who buy a system in the fourth quarter of 2006 are to receive a coupon good for an upgrade to Windows Vista, once it is available.
Microsoft prompted PC makers to accent Vista in late July, handing out how-to kits depicting "accelerated curves" as well as "purposeful contrast" featuring preferred colors of "Obsidian" black and "Ice" white. Industry watchers predict that the software giant could experience major complications in its attempts to transform the PC ecosystem, however, since many hardware manufacturers depend on their own style and design in a market that already holds tight margins.
Windows Vista has experienced numerous setbacks throughout its development cycle, and was even scrapped to be restarted from scratch on one occasion. Rumors circulated in July that Vista could see yet another delay before the product finally launches. Paul Thurrott -- the author of more than a dozen books about Microsoft's operating system and an active beta tester of Vista -- said Microsoft's handling of Windows Vista has been "abysmal," and stated that the company is collapsing under its own weight.
Apple is planning to ship Mac OS X Leopard around the same time as Windows Vista next spring, and recently unveiled several new features of the operating system during a preview at its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, along with two new Intel-based Mac systems to complete its transition to the Intel architecture ahead of schedule.