Microsoft changes Vista's Release Schedule, AGAIN

Microsoft has once again changed the release schedule for their Vista Builds and Vista Beta edition. Apparently, this month’s upcoming build will be almost full featured and the Beta release has been drawn back, or so it seems.

So what is the good and bad news that comes from all of this? The good news is that if Microsoft actually gets a full feature build together after December, then it will have seven solid months of testing before a release candidate. By releasing CTPs only when necessary, testers will also be able to focus on builds for longer periods of time, rather than having to install a new operating system each month. If developers are able to see a final feature set as early as January, applications for Vista can begin to be created with the confidence that there will be no compatibility issues later.

The bad news is that Microsoft’s Vista product team appears in a state of disarray with an ever-changing release schedule, but this revelation existed long before Tuesday’s announcement. The jettison of Beta 2 would not be awful, but it wouldn’t be great either, considering that betas are major landmarks in development. If Beta 2 is nixed, then Vista will not hit a major milestone for seven months until the release candidate. A lack of a second beta may also increase the “wait until release plus SP 1” mentality among many users and vendors, which could severly hurt Vista’s initial profitability at a time when Microsoft could profit the most: Christmas.

If Microsoft doesn’t settle in with their plans next year could very well prove to be one of the worst for the company, or best. It’s all a matter of how they handle things from here on, and the clock is already ticking.

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