Vista Delay Prevents a Support Disaster

Opinion: Is there a silver lining behind the latest delay in Windows Vista? All those new features coming into the market in late summer release could have spelled a support nightmare under the Christmas tree.

Much like the Kennedy assassination or the space walk on the moon, Microsofts latest delay for its Vista OS will engender a tsunami of conspiracy theories.

For example, why did Microsoft delay the release of Vista (again), even though its top executives swore up and down that it would hit the streets this year?

According to the word on the street, Vista was due in the late summer, meaning it would be available for loading on machines slated for the Christmas buying season.

Since the OS now wont be ready until the first quarter of 2007 (or even until the second quarter), Vista-powered machines will likely arrive on the shelves for graduation day—two Junes from now.

The reason may be quality. Some sources say that the latest CTP (Community Technology Preview) release is flaky, while others consider it acceptable and heading toward a summer completion.

/zimages/5/28571.gifMicrosoft plans six core versions of Windows Vista. Click here to read more.

Microsoft says its just a marketing decision. Whatever.

Regardless of the spin, the rush to hit the holiday buying season was always a terrible idea.

While common sense tells us that the holiday season would be the best of times for a new product, its the worst time to release a new operating system to consumers.

While the holiday season is the time when most consumers purchase machines—usually a good thing—along with those purchases will come a wave of customer support calls: to application vendors, system makers and Microsoft. It never fails.

Even better (or worse), Vista is packed with lots of new features, new interesting consumer-focused tools and even a new interface.

All of this stuff is bound to confuse even experienced users. These will trigger support calls and messages at the very time when vendors have trouble responding to them.

And if there were unresolved bugs in the software—in a Microsoft product?—that confusion would grow.

It was the threat of an industry-wide CRM meltdown during and after the holiday that caused Microsoft to chill out its Vista release plans.

/zimages/5/28571.gifDavid Coursey calls Vistas delay tough love. Click here to read more.

Now, Microsoft may release Vista to the enterprise in late fall. And no doubt, executives will crow about that accomplishment. Big deal, since enterprises will be the very last customers to accept the new software.

Meanwhile, analysts are predicting a slowdown in enterprise hardware upgrades that may extend into 2008, so the adoption of Vista in the enterprise will be even slower.

Face it. Vista, like so many other important new technologies nowadays, are first and foremost a consumer play.

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