The company said that it is still on target to offer business versions of Vista through volume licensing in November 2006. Smaller businesses will have to wait with consumers until Vista hits retail and OEM channels in January 2007. Prior to the announcement, many industry experts expected Microsoft to release all versions of the OS sometime in the fourth quarter of 2006.
Microsoft said that the delay came as a result of the company's need for more time to improve quality assurance. The extra weeks the company forecasted for final improvements then pushed release dates into a year-end timeframe that some of its partners balked at, said Jim Allchin, co-president for the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft.
"Product quality was the first priority on the first day of Vista (development) and we won't compromise on that," Allchin said. "We needed just a few more weeks and that put us in what we would call a bubble where some partners would be impacted more than others and we decided to optimize it for the entire industry."
Some of the quality-related development still needing refinement includes application compatibility, performance and security.
"Security is a big thing," Allchin said. "Safety and security has been a diving factor in this release all along. We know what we need to do to in order to make this system one that people are going to be able to feel safe and secure when they get it."