Should Microsoft delay Vista further?

, posted: 1-Aug-2006 14:19

VistaHands up everyone who installed Vista Beta 2 and was disappointed with it? From the feedback I've had so far, quite a few people thought Beta 2 just wasn't all that good. I never installed it as I received unofficial advice that the newer builds released not long after Beta 2 came out were substantially better.

The Vista betas have been a departure from previous such programmes I've been on. Granted, it was a while since Microsoft released a new OS, but the betas were actually pretty good overall.

Not so Vista, it appears. Robert McLaws is so disappointed with Beta 2 that he's calling for a third beta on his blog. In fact, McLaws says that despite performance and stability improvements in the builds after Beta 2, Vista is nowhere near Release Candidate quality.

The speech recognition demo fiasco recently seems to bear McLaws out. It was caused by a bug in the audio system, Microsoft developers claim. Clearly the bug was a real show-stopper, and one that you wouldn't expect to find in a late build of an operating system.

Could Microsoft realistically delay Vista even more though? I don't think that's a realistic option. Vista is already late beyond excusable, and the prestige hit if Vista was delayed again would enormous.

Even so, the issues that McLaws talks about like bugs being closed without resolution, Nvidia display drivers not working properly and poor system stability look pretty serious. Can Microsoft wallpaper over those cracks in time for the release?

Maybe Microsoft will take a gamble here and release a version of Vista that's not quite ready for prime time, but works acceptably. That would meet share market and analyst expectations, at the cost of customer satisfaction. While the release process is underway, a fix-up release gets done, possibly in parts and distributed via Windows Update.

That scenario isn't as far-fetched as it sounds. I remember when Apple OS X first came out, and how I wondered at the time how Cupertino could've released such an unfinished product. It took several updates before OS X got there (and yes, I really like 10.4.7).

Other related posts:
Fighting with Windows 8
The Windows Phone 7.5 bouncing tiles bug
Windows Live Essentials betas seem good, but oh so flaky

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