Soon after I put the last edition of The Windows Vista
Report to bed, Vista hit the fan and was blown into next year. While this
unfortunate situation has caused Microsoft a lot of flak over the last week,
the whole thing could be turned around if Microsoft would revive the model year
naming scheme and call the operating system Windows Vista 2007. In fact, if
they rechristened the product as Windows Vista 2007, released it alongside
Office 2007, and offered some kind of package deal for both the operating
system and the office suite, then the spin doctors could design a super duper product
release campaign and make us all believe that this was what they had planned
all along. That would sure change the way history will look back on this period!

Moving back to reality, there have been a lot of stories in
the media lately about what moving Windows Vista’s release date into next year
means to Microsoft, its partners, and to all of us Windows users. If you’re
like me and have been reading all of these articles, it’s easy to be confused
about what’s really going on and who, if anyone, is to blame for this most
recent debacle. While I won’t claim to be able to clear up the mess, I decided
that in this week’s edition, I’d take a look at a few of the associated storylines
and see what I can turn up.

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Heads are gonna roll

One storyline that I have been seeing over and over again is
that Microsoft is cleaning house in its Windows division after the Windows
Vista delay and that Jim Allchin, the Vista team
leader, is being replaced by Steven Sinofsky, who has
been in charge of the Office product line. While to some extent this storyline
is true, Allchin announced his retirement from
Microsoft long before Windows Vista’s release date was pushed back to 2007. So
the fact that Microsoft is brining Sinofsky over to
the Windows division at this time really shouldn’t be interpreted as Allchin’s abrupt demise.

Remember that Allchin has been
telling us that Microsoft would not ship Vista until it was technically complete
and free of flaws. I guess that he’s a man of his word.

Since Allchin’s on his way out
anyway and Sinofsky’s Office 2007 project is complete,
putting Sinofsky into the Windows group at this time
could have as much to do with the natural progression of the company’s
reorganization plans as with the Windows Vista slip. Regardless of the
reasoning and timing of this move, the teaming of these two can only be a good
thing for Windows Vista as Allchin wants to provide
solid product and Sinofsky has a proven track record
of meeting release deadlines. So, we could very well see a rock solid release
of Windows Vista in January of 2007.

Brooks’ Law

In addition to Steven Sinofsky
being moved over to the Windows team, another storyline hinted that Microsoft
was moving a group of programmers from the XBox team
over to the Windows team in order help fix whatever problem is holding Windows
Vista back. While I was pondering that idea, I came across an interesting
from Mike Langberg at the Langberg dug out a 1975 book called The Mythical Man-Month
by Frederick P. Brooks Jr. and revived Brooks’ Law which states that “Adding
manpower to a late software project (only) makes it later.” With this law in
mind, Langberg came up with a unique perspective on
the Windows Vista delay and postulates that the delay could move deeper into
2007 than the January target.

What’s Window team been up to lately anyway?

Another storyline making the rounds is that the Windows
group has not shipped a new product in nearly five years. While it’s true that it
has been a long time since the October 2001 release of Windows XP, the Windows
team has indeed been very busy the last five years and has shipped several
products in that time.

In fact, we’ve seen the release of Windows XP Media Center,
Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Windows XP SP2, and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
as shown in Table A. Just because all of these products carry the Windows XP
name doesn’t mean that they aren’t separate products.

Table A: Operating system products that have been releases since the
introduction of Windows XP.

Operating System Product

Release Date

Windows XP Media Center Edition

September 2002

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

November 2002

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004

September 2003

Windows XP SP2

August 2004

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005

August 2004

Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005

October 2004

Windows XP Professional x64 Edition

April 2005

Build 5342 on time

Even though last week began with the announcement that
Windows Vista was being bumped into 2007, it ended with build 5342 being
released exclusively to the Technology Adoption Program (TAP) partners, a
limited group of Microsoft’s high-end beta testers. I will keep my ears to the
ground and will report on any new features in build 5342.


With the official release date of Windows Vista being pushed
into 2007, we now have more time evaluate the operating system. Even though
build 5342 was released on time, I suspect that the next CTP or Beta 2, which
was scheduled for April will be pushed back as well.
As such, I’ll continue to hammer away at build 5308 (February CTP) and let you
in on some of the new and cool things that I encounter. As always, if you have
comments or information to share about the Windows Vista delay, please take a
moment to drop by the Discussion area and let us hear.