Vista Setback Timeline

Here is a look at key points -- the twists, turns and setbacks -- in the short history of Windows Vista.

March 22, 2006

2 Min Read
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Microsoft's acknowledgement Tuesday that Windows Vista won't be in consumers' hands until January 2007 isn't the first time that the Redmond, Wash. developer has put the brakes on its next generation operating system. Here's a look back at some of Vista's (n?e Longhorn's) stumbles and scrapes.

June 2001 -- Microsoft executive Jim Allchin confirms that "Longhorn" is the code name for the next edition of Windows after XP. In fact, Allchin says, Longhorn will be an interim release between XP and "Blackcomb," code name for an even-farther-out OS.

October 2001 -- Windows XP, the last major update to Microsoft's dominant operating system, ships.

April 2002 -- At WinHEC, Allchin says that Longhorn won't ship until the second half of 2004. The year before, Microsoft had touted late 2002 or early 2003 as its ship date. At the same time, Allchin denies that there will be a Windows XP SE (Second Edition). Ironically, Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2), which does, after all, appear, is used by Microsoft to explain future delays for Longhorn.

June 2003 -- Paul Flessner, senior vice president of Microsoft's Server Platform Division, lays out a roadmap at TechEd 2003 that includes Longhorn in the 2005 category. Later in the summer,analysts begin betting on 2006.October 2003 --Microsoft announces "WinFS," a technology that will unify storage of all data types, including relational, non-relational, and multimedia. WinFS will be integrated within Longhorn, Microsoft says at a developers conference.

October 2003 -- Bill Gates tells reporters in the Netherlands that Longhorn does not have a firm release date, and says "Longhorn could be 2005 or 2006."

March 2004 -- Gates says that an "alpha" of Longhorn will be in developers' and partners' hands later in the year, disappointing those who had been under the impression that Microsoft would have a beta ready by then. He comes close to declaring 2006 as the ship year for the OS, but promises "Longhorn is not a date-driven release." Analysts are leery. "I'm dubious about 2006," says Joe Wilcox, analyst with JupiterResearch.

August 2004 -- Microsoft pulls WinFS from Longhorn, says it has to drop the new file system technology to meet its newly-declared "second half of 2006" release date.

July 2005-- Microsoft reveals"Windows Vista" as the real name for Longhorn, promises to ship the first beta by August 3. Microsoft beats that self-imposed deadline by a week. The company continues to use the "second half of 2006" as the target ship date.February 2006 -- Company officially lays out several versions of Vista; 5 SKUs, 1 Starter edition for developing markets, and 2 versions for the European Union, which demands Microsoft strip out its media player.

March 2006 -- In a full circle,Jim Allchin breaks the news that Vista won't be available to consumers until January 2007.

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