Windows Vista release slips to fourth quarter 2006

Windows Vista won't be available for shipment until the last quarter of 2006, a Microsoft executive let slip in a presentation on Microsoft's campus Thursday.

Windows Vista won't be available for shipment until the last quarter of 2006, a Microsoft  executive let slip in a presentation on Microsoft's campus Thursday.

Microsoft had previously slated the release of the next client version of its Windows operating system for the second half of 2006. But at the Microsoft Financial Analyst Conference in Redmond, Wash., Thursday, Will Poole, senior vice president of the client division of Microsoft, gave a more specific time frame than has previously been given, saying that the operating system will be out in the 2006 "holiday" time frame in the U.S.

This presumably would mean that the operating system will not be available until sometime around the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, which is the last Thursday in November, or Christmas, which is Dec. 25.

Poole quickly corrected his faux pas, and reiterated Microsoft's party line that Windows Vista will be ready sometime in the second half of 2006 during the remainder of his presentation to analysts.

Microsoft released the first beta of Windows Vista Wednesday, and Thursday at the analyst conference showed a demo of some of Vista's new features, including virtual folders and enhanced support for RSS (Really Simple Syndication).

The company unveiled the official name of the client OS, formerly code-named Longhorn, last Friday at its annual sales meeting. The next version of Windows Server, however, still retains the Longhorn code name, and is expected to be available in 2007.

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