This doesn’t come as a surprise since Windows Vista and Office 2007 have been expected to debut together, but Microsoft officially announced yesterday that the retail (and OEM) version of Microsoft Office 2007 will be delayed until January 2007 in order to sync up with the release of Windows Vista (on Tuesday Microsoft revealed that Vista would be pushed back to 2007). 

Yesterday Microsoft also announced some changes to the Windows team. The big move is that Steve Sinofsky (the captain of the Microsoft Office team, which has a much better track record for hitting product deadlines than the Windows team) will move over to the Windows group  and take over the team and future versions of Windows after Jim Allchin retires at the end of this year, upon delivering Vista.

Lots of people are piling on Microsoft for the delay of Vista, and rightfully so in some cases. However, I was a little shocked by the blatant giddiness demonstrated by Novell Marketing VP John Dragoon in a presentation in Salt Lake City in which he was demonstrating some features of Suse Linux 10. Dragoon, in an attempt to be witty, remarked, “Why, I feel bad for [Microsoft]… I don’t know if you guys knew that [Vista] was originally expected to be ready by end of 2004. The last time I checked, it is 2006.”

Dragoon’s remarks might have even been funny if it weren’t for the fact that Novell has made virtually no progress or innovations to improve Suse to the point that it can legitimately compete with Windows as a business desktop. I’m sure he’s thrilled with the delay of Vista from 2004 to 2007 because it means his product is only about five years behind Vista, instead of eight. Of course, the bad news for Dragoon and Novell is that Red Hat hasn’t announced any delays this week and so Suse is still a couple years behind the Linux market leader on the desktop. They should set their sights there first. Vista is still way out of their league.