The code for Windows Vista has finally been released to manufacturing, Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsofts platforms and services division, announced in a media teleconference on Nov. 8.
The team had signed off on the final code at around 10 a.m. PST on Nov. 8, Allchin said, adding that "this is an incredible, happy day; its exciting for us. Vista is rock solid and we are ready to ship. This is a significant milestone for Microsoft and our partners."
"The RTM [release to manufacturing] signifies the next phase for Windows Vista. Our development work is done and now the progress begins for the PC and device manufacturers and software developers to finalize the work on their products and applications," he said.
While Microsoft has made some big claims about Vista, Allchin said he truly believes the company would deliver them.
Vista also brings a number of firsts with it: the first time that a broad array of customer SKUs, all targeted at different customer segments, will be available on a single DVD image, which is a "significant accomplishment," Allchin claimed.
This is also the first time that Microsoft has been able to release five languages simultaneously at RTM time, two more than it has been able to do before.
"The French, Spanish and Japanese versions were, in fact, signed off before English, which is another first," Allchin said.
"The product will be available in 18 languages by the January release time. We will ship 36 languages within 100 days of the U.S. English RTM, and when we are done we will have basically 100 languages, which is an amazing accomplishment."
Windows Vista supports more hardware than any other version, with hundreds of OEMs and thousands of system builder partners who will all install Vista. Microsoft expects about 50 percent more device driver coverage at RTM than Windows XP had, with thousands more coming through Windows Update.
"So, big claims and I think we are delivering on them," Allchin said, adding that, from a quality perspective, Microsoft thinks about the product in three different categories: performance, reliability and security.
With regard to performance, Vista has a number of new technologies, from SuperFetch to ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive, innovations that the company claims will keep peoples machines performing well over time, with their systems continuing to run better.
The focus on power management and "sleep" optimizations not only save power and money, but give users the quick "on" and "off" experience they have been wanting for years, Allchin said.
There was also "no question" that Vista was the most reliable system Microsoft had ever shipped, having undergone more testing than any product or operating system ever shipped by the company, he said.
There have been some 16 technical previews since beta one, with millions of downloads of the pre-release versions of the product. There are also more than 60,000 machines inside Microsoft running Vista, which was more than at any other Windows RTM time.