11:12 AM

Analysis: An Upside To The Vista Delay?

Microsoft's decision to delay Vista's release until January may have the beneficial effect of producing a more secure, stable product.

WASHINGTON — Three months after the Sept. 11 attacks, network security experts met here to debate a national strategy for protecting critical networks.

Bill Joy, then the chief scientist at Sun Microsystems Inc. and a skeptic thoroughly disillusioned with the current technology order, noted that the growing number of network attacks stemmed from outdated programming languages, time-to-market pressures and Microsoft Corp.'s dominance of the operating system market.

"The industry ships crap—bad designs, poorly implemented," Joy told network security experts.

Microsoft's announcement this week that it is delaying release of its new Vista operating system will surely cause pain throughout the electronics industry. But the software giant's decision to delay the release until January 2007 may also have the beneficial effect of plugging security holes in Vista that represent the costly downside to rushing products to market before they have been fully tested.

While management problems probably played a larger role in Microsoft's decision to delay Vista, it's conceivable that the software giant's developers can use the extra time to fix network security flaws that have plagued each version of the dominant Windows operating system.

That's cold comfort for companies like Intel, Nvidia and Seagate, whose stocks have been clobbered since Microsoft's Vista decision surfaced. But if we look for a moment beyond quarterly results and Christmas sales, a delayed Vista operating system may be more secure—and that's good for vendors and users alike.

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