Report: Vista Likely to be Delayed Again

Research firm Gartner said Tuesday that it believed Microsoft would miss its targets and release Windows Vista another three or so months after its current November-January timeframe. The firm claims Vista's features are too complex to be finished that quickly.

Windows Vista was originally scheduled for a 2005 release, but has been repeatedly delayed as the Redmond company struggled to finish upgrades and ensure a quality release. Vista is the first major upgrade of the Windows platform in five years.

The period between XP and Vista is already the longest ever between major releases of the operating system since Windows 1.0. Some believe that Microsoft's delays have also led to a resurgence of Apple's Mac OS X platform in recent months.

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Gartner said it expected Vista in the April to June timeframe, about nine months to a year after Beta 2 rolls out this quarter. The company said such a delay is not as damaging as the slippage after the holidays, with computer sales largely much flat in the first part of the year.

Windows XP took five months from its second beta to a release to manufacturing. However, Gartner says that Vista is much more of a technological improvement over its predecessor, meaning it could take much longer. For example, Windows 2000 took 16 months.

On top of the extra time needed, Gartner notes that it takes up to two months to get the operating system onto new computers.

In a response to BetaNews, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "We respectfully disagree with Gartner’s views around timing of the final delivery of Windows Vista. We remain on track to deliver Windows Vista Beta 2 in the second quarter and to deliver the final product to volume license customers in November 2006 and to other businesses and consumers in January 2007."

Gartner's claims of a delay came on the same day as news that Microsoft was dropping support for yet another feature in the initial release of Windows Vista. The operating system will not support integration of RSA's SecurID authentication tokens as originally planned.

In February 2004, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said Windows would support the technology. A two-year beta test has been ongoing between RSA and Microsoft, but more time is needed to build SecurID directly into Windows.

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