Vista, Office up for New Year


Not that anybody sane really wants a new operating system and office software suite for Christmas, but there’s definitely a problem with Microsoft announcing shipping dates for Vista and Office for January of 2007.

It’s not that the date means the software is delayed once again, which it is — Vista was supposed to launch in November last I heard, which is several years after it was first expected — it’s just that January is not a particularly good month to come after people for money.

The Christmas Holidays are an expensive time for most of us, what with all the presents and parties dragging on our bank accounts and piling up on our credit card balances, and the last thing we need is to wake up Jan. 1 and have to contemplate shelling out around $300 for Vista and another $600 for Office (although different versions will be available for different pricing).

Furthermore, the delay sinks all those computer companies out there who will be looking to sell systems for the holidays — why would anybody buy a new computer bundled with Windows XP only to have to turn around a few months later and buy Vista? If I were in the market for a new computer the sensible thing would be to wait a few months and get one bundled with the latest operating system.

There’s no question that people will want Vista. More than 90 per cent of computers around the planet are running some form of Microsoft operating system, and most users will upgrade to some form of Vista eventually.

XP has about run its course these past five years, and is saddled with a reputation for glitches and security holes. Few pieces of software have ever been as frequently patched and updated.

As we get closer to the release date we already know a few things about Vista. One is that it is designed to work with some heavy system specs, like dual core and 64-bit processors, as well as next generation graphics cards. In terms of features, there will be hundreds of new gadgets and widgets, bringing it more into step with Apple’s popular OSX operating systems.

Vista also promises to be more secure than XP, and the beta version was tested thoroughly at the recent Black Hat hackers conference. One security hole was discovered there, which Microsoft should be able to patch for the official Vista release.

Vista will also be harder to crash, with programmers literally going back to the drawing board in some ways to provide more stable operation, as well as to ensure Vista can handle drivers, third-party programs, and different types of hardware without getting bogged down or shutting down.

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