At the end of last year, several TechRepublic members made their picks for Headlines You Won't See In 2006. My #2 is as follows:
2) Vista ships on time with a full feature setMicrosoft
has a history of creating illusory ship dates. Maybe Slip Dates would
be a better term for them. As the shipping date gets closer, one of two
things invariably happens. Either the ship date changes or features get
tossed over the side. Beta 2 has already been delayed while promised
features like WinFS suddenly have become possible options in the
future. Vista may indeed appear in 2006, but it will be very late in
the year, and without a full set of features that were announced years
Not only won't Vista ship this year now, it STILL won't ship with all of the features that were originally promised for it. Yet again, Microsoft misses another slip date.
Oh wait - No, Windows Vista will be available this year after all! It's going to be available precisely for the people who care least about it - business customers. People who've ponied up money for Microsoft corporate licenses (and expect 'regular' updates as part of it) will be able to get copies of Vista this year. For the rest of the planet, you've got to wait until January 2007.
This makes little sense. Businesses are usually the last to adopt a new OS, not the first ones. When new OSes ship, most businesses sit back and wait for the bugs to be squashed. When I was a network administrator I remember that when Windows 2000 Professional shipped, the corporate mandate was to format a new machine when it came in the door and put 98 on it. They didn't install 2000 Professional until after the first Service Pack was released.
Windows XP took years to gain real market share on corporate desktops. Windows 98 and Windows 2000 Professional hung around solid until late 2003 / early 2004. Why should Windows Vista be any different? Microsoft has promised lots of benefits to business in this new release, but if they can't be trusted to hit a simple ship date, how can they be trusted that this 1.0 release is going to be worth installing 3 months before its general release?
You can always tell the pioneers because they're the ones with arrows in their backs. Businesses don't want to be the pioneers with a new untested OS. Shipping promises in the Corporate License agreements aside, if the product is ready for business today, it should be ready for the consumer market as well. If I was a CIO and a vendor told me it was 'good enough' for work, but not quite ready for home use, I'd think twice about doing business with that company.
Meanwhile - how many new versions of Linux and Mac OS X have shipped since 2001? And how many more will be ready before January 2007?