Ballmer Hints At Another Vista Delay

Gartner Group’s prediction of a tardy Windows Vista release may be closer to the mark. Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer hinted at a press conference in Tokyo that Windows Vista may delay its planned release date by a few weeks.

At a Tokyo press conference with NEC, Ballmer reportedly said the company is evaluating both responses to the second beta, which was released this week at the WinHEC conference, and the next “machine cycle” from hardware vendors.

“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,” he said, according to an IDG News Service report.

The other consideration that Microsoft was discussing with OEM partners, including NEC, was “when would they really like it — early January, late January, February — so it depends on when the next roll-over, the next turn of the machine cycle will be and that would be the best time to ship it based on beta feedback,” he said.

A Microsoft spokesperson would not comment on Ballmer’s remarks directly. But in an e-mailed response to said “we are targeting Windows Vista availability for volume license customers in November and general availability in January 2007. As we have always said, the exact delivery date will ultimately be determined by quality, and the beta process is an integral part of assessing and improving this.”

Vista is already later than Godot. Microsoft first began talking about it in 2001 as a 2003 release. The latest delay came in March, when the company said it would miss the planned November release date, and release it in January 2007, thus scuttling Christmas plans for PC vendors.

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