Ballmer admits Vista OS may miss January debut

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer has hinted that the long awaited Vista operating system (OS) may not ship in January 2007 after all.

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By  Dylan.Bowman Published  June 4, 2006

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer has hinted that the long awaited Vista operating system (OS) may not ship in January 2007 after all. Speaking at the Japan launch of the second beta version of the next-generation operating system in Tokyo last month, the company’s CEO admitted the launch data could be affected by the product release dates of hardware vendors and feedback from beta two testers. “We think we are on track for shipping early in the year. We’ve talked about the month, but we get a chance to critically assess all of the feedback we’ll get from this beta release then confirm or move [the launch date] a few weeks,” Ballmer told the press conference on May 25. “The other thing, frankly, which we are discussing with NEC and other hardware partners is when would they really like it [Vista] — early January, late January, February — so it depends on when the next roll-over, the next turn of the machine cycle will be,” he added. The following day Ballmer backtracked slightly, while visiting Seoul, Korea, but he still left room for manoeuvre on when Vista would actually ship. “Certainly, when Windows Vista comes to the market next year, and it will be next year, we will make sure that we make a high quality product, ship a high quality product, when it’s ready,” he told reporters. The software giant has already pushed back the release of Vista once in March — delaying general availability until January 2007, despite previously all but guaranteeing the operating system would be on the shelves in 2006. The beta 2 versions of Vista, Office 2007 and the next version of Windows Server were all released on May 23 by chairman Bill Gates at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle, US — the first time Microsoft has simultaneously released the test versions of all three products. Microsoft said all three betas included collaboration capabilities that enabled workers to more easily share, access and synchronise information and documents across a wide range of devices. Gartner reiterated its opinion that Microsoft would miss its January target for the Vista in another news analysis last month on the release of the second betas for Office 2007 and the next-generation OS. “We are sceptical that it [Microsoft] will meet its target for shipping Windows,” the research firm wrote on May 23. Gartner did predict the software vendor would meet its target date for shipping Office, but said it ultimately depended on the quality of the betas. “The quality of both the Office and Vista betas would be a major indicator of Microsoft’s ability to meet its release dates,” it stated.

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