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Microsoft Partners Stunned By Vista, Office Delays

Vista’s slip into 2007 hurts—and hurts bad, partners said. And subsequent news that the new Office also slipped added insult to injury.

Microsoft’s delays are “a big blow to us,” said Todd Swank, director of marketing at Northern Computer Technologies, a system builder in Burnsville, Minn. “That will put a damper on holiday sales,” he said, noting that Nor-Tech’s VAR customers sell to both businesses and consumers.

“The desktop refresh cycle just took a huge hit,” said Glen Coffield, president of Cheap Guys Computers, a system builder in Orlando Fla. “Microsoft is saying seven or eight months before launch [that] they can’t get it done. It’s obviously not a small problem,” he said.

Given the lead time hardware OEMs and system builders need to load, test and customize their installs, Microsoft said last week that only large customers with volume license deals will get the coveted code in November. Broad consumer availability will wait until January.

Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsoft’s Platform and Services, said the company acted responsibly and in response to partner and customer feedback, a contention that some partners dismissed out of hand.

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