In spite of the vague public wording around its Windows Vista and Office 2007 release plans, Microsoft is continuing to tell its hardware and software partners that its goal is to release the two products simultaneously in January.
In March, Microsoft announced publicly that it would not meet internal deadlines that would allow it to launch Vista and Office 2007 before the end of 2006, as the company had been planning. Then, in late June, Microsoft officials acknowledged that the companys internal Office 2007 release dates had slipped and instead of delivering the product to businesses in October, it would commit to doing so by the end of calendar 2006.
At the time Microsoft announced the new Office delay, it also changed its public tune on when it planned its Office 2007 retail launch. Instead of promising a January 2007 launch date, Microsoft officials said they would commit to an “early 2007” launch for Office 2007. That change in wording led many to speculate that Office 2007 would launch some time after Vista.
The June Office delay also set off speculation that Microsoft would push back the Windows Vista launch to coincide with the unspecified, later Office 2007 launch date. Chairman Bill Gates pronouncement last week that he was about 80 percent sure that Vista will launch in January didnt help clarify matters.
But at last weeks Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft officials were singing a different tune, yet again. Officials on both the OEM and Office sides of the house said that Microsoft was proceeding full-steam ahead to launch Vista and Office 2007 together in January 2007.
Microsoft is preparing to release to its Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet subscribers a new Vista build some time in the next couple of weeks, company officials said last week.
Corporate Vice President of Windows Marketing Michael Sievert publicly stated on July 11 that Microsoft would release to testers a new interim Vista build in the next week. Later, company representatives said the build, which will consist almost exclusively of bug fixes, would be more likely to hit in the next week or two, most likely by the end of July. And Sievert and other officials reconfirmed that Microsoft is still on track to deliver the near-final Release Candidate 1 (RC1) of Vista to testers some time in the third calendar quarter of 2006.
If Vista and Office 2007 both stay their current courses, a dual launch in January is still in the cards, officials said repeatedly last week.