MS Won't Commit to Vista in January

At its annual financial analysts meeting, Microsoft would not commit to shipping Vista in the January 2007 timeframe it had announced in March. The uncertainty caused the Redmond company's already lagging stock price to drop another two percent Thursday, although it had recouped some of those losses Friday.

Platforms & Services co-president Kevin Johnston, while saying there was nothing to prevent Vista from shipping in January, responded to questions of possible future delays by saying Microsoft was taking it "milestone by milestone." Seemingly echoing earlier comments by Bill Gates, Johnston told attendees "we will ship Windows Vista when it's ready."

Another delay would not only affect Microsoft, but its wide range of partners as well. Missing the lucrative holiday shopping season likely shaved a lot of potential growth off the PC industry by pushing back the boost seen after major Windows upgrades.

"Bottom line: He didn't commit to the January 2007 date, which makes it absolutely uncertain," JupiterResearch senior analyst and Microsoft pundit Joe Wilcox said. "Microsoft may or may not make it. As I've said before, from a sales cycle perspective, January might as well be July."

Vista is a major part of Microsoft's "four pillars" strategy for growth. New versions of Windows and Office comprise the first two pillars, and their growth will give the company the needed capital to build two new ones: one for its Internet services strategy and the other for Xbox.

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