Don't hold your breath for Vista

Enterprises gearing up for Vista may need to step back and take a deep breath. Its arrival may be a little later than expected, according to a new research note from Gartner. The report bluntly states: "Microsoft can't accurately predict them more than a few months out, and organizations that are too reliant on Microsoft making shipment dates are leaving themselves open to excessive risk." Put simply, Microsoft isn't likely to meet its revised shipping date by January 2007.

Gartner's betting on the second quarter of 2007, that is, if there are no hitches in coming months. So what is the analyst firm's metrix?

It was 16 months between beta 2 and the release to manufacturing of Windows 2000, according to the report. That process for Windows XP took only five months, which is the same timeframe Microsoft has provided for Vista. However, the development of Windows Vista for Microsoft is more on par with Windows 2000 in terms of its scope.

Vista marks a major overhaul to the OS, just as Windows 2000 did when it was released. This means it is more likely will take about nine to 12 months, not five months, for Microsoft to make Vista stable enough for final release following beta 2. But according to Microsoft's current release schedule, Vista should be in manufacturers' hands by October, and available to business customers through its volume licensing program in late November or early December.

Microsoft has said that the final beta 2 release of Vista will come in May or June. Even if that is correct, Gartner says, it still means Vista won't be released to manufacturing until at least February 2007.

Typically, the general release of the OS comes about two months after that, which would put Vista's general release on PCs at about April 2007.

That is, if all goes well. In other words, don't hold your breath. What are your Vista plans? E-mail Sandra_Rossi@idg.com.au

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