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Gartner: Vista Still Not 'Done'

Microsoft is still at work on thousands of Vista device drivers that will be fed to users once they purchase PCs with the operating system pre-installed.

Even though Microsoft will launch Windows Vista into retail channels on Jan. 30, a Gartner analyst contended Friday that the operating system won't be finished by then.

"Why am I asking if it will be done? Isn't it already done?" wrote Michael Silver on a Gartner blog. "In a word, no."

Silver pointed out that without the revamped Microsoft Update service and the 11 weeks between the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone in early November and the end-of-January roll-out to consumers, Vista couldn't have met its 2006 deadline.

"The reality is that Microsoft could not have shipped Vista in November if real people were going to be using it en masse for real things right away," Silver said. "With consumers not getting Windows Vista until 30 January 2007, and most businesses just 'kicking its tires' (if that) over the holidays, Microsoft and the Windows ecosystem have an 11-week extension between RTM and actual use."

Microsoft is still at work on thousands of Vista device drivers that will be fed to users once they purchase PCs with the operating system pre-installed. The developer also has yet to move some important applications out of beta test phase. Among the latter: the enterprise-aimed Application Compatibility Toolkit and the Windows Mobile Device Center, the synchronization tool for mobile devices such as phones and music players.

"Microsoft and the ecosystem need to be ready for the 30 January consumer launch," said Silver. "People want a stable system with devices they can use. Coupled with the security issues that have already surfaced, Microsoft and the ecosystem need to provide complete and stable driver support by launch, or Windows Vista will have a difficult time overcoming some troublesome first impressions."

Even before Microsoft debuted Vista to its enterprise customers in late November, Jim Allchin, the soon-to-retire head of Windows development, acknowledged that engineers would continue working on the operating system, notably device drivers. Those drivers would, said Allchin, be delivered via the Windows Update service and using Automatic Updates settings in Vista.

"When you use Windows Vista for the first time, you will notice that the system asks if you want to check for any updates," Allchin said on Nov. 20. "And don't be surprised when the system downloads some updates -- in fact, you should expect it."

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