UPDATED: Microsoft said yesterday that consumer versions of its next-generation version of Windows would not hit the market until January 2007, dashing plans that it would be on PCs for sale during the 2006 end-of-year holiday season.
During a conference call today to detail the road map plans for Vista, however, Microsoft said it is on target to go into broad consumer beta to approximately two million users in the second quarter of 2006.
Jim Allchin, Microsoft's outgoing co-president of Microsoft's platforms and services division, stressed that Vista would be completed this year and available for businesses. "We decided to make it directly available in November via our volume licensing programming," he said, with "broad consumer and PC availability in January, 2007."
Some customers lined up to support the move, despite the fact that Vista will miss the 2006 delivery that had been promised by Microsoft.
"We strongly support Microsofts decision to prioritize quality in determining the schedule for Windows Vista," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president of the Personal Systems Group at Hewlett Packard, in a statement.
"A January launch of Windows Vista allows us to execute in a consistent way throughout the holidays, and will provide the right opportunity for a large, exciting launch industry-wide after the New Year."
But while Microsoft may have the public support of its partners, some analysts say there is undoubtedly disappointment. "Today's delay will be a blow to many Microsoft partners," Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox told internetnews.com. "They won't have Windows Vista to sell during the holiday sales season or the benefits of the big marketing push. Microsoft finished Windows XP in August 2001 and launched in October. That's what it takes to make the holidays." (Jupiter Research is owned by the same company as internetnews.com).