Microsoft Corp. is expected to release to manufacturing the next version of its Windows desktop operating system on July 25, 2006, to ensure PC vendors have it on machines in time for the 2006 holiday season in the U.S., according to sources familiar with the company's plans.
Microsoft is expected to give Windows Vista to PC vendors earlier than customers expected to "get a jump on the Christmas season," Ethan Allen, a Microsoft beta tester and administrator of The Hotfix Web site, said in an e-mail today. The information also is posted on The Hotfix site and corroborated by another beta tester.
Even so, Michael Burk, product manager for Windows Vista at Microsoft, said in an e-mail that the company has not yet provided a time frame for when Vista would be in the hands of its manufacturers.
Company executives have said the operating system would be generally available on PCs in time for the 2006 holiday season, which is late November to late December in the U.S. PC manufacturers would need access to Windows Vista earlier than that in order to ship it on hardware by that time.
Microsoft also plans to give developers a second beta of Windows Vista on Dec. 16, 2005, Allen said.
Although the company has said it would make Beta 2 of the operating system available before the end of the year, it has not specified a date for that release. Burk said via e-mail that Microsoft is still determining when it will release the second beta, based on feedback from testers of Beta 1 and a Community Technology Preview of Windows Vista released earlier this month.
The first beta of Vista was made available in July.
In the meantime, Microsoft is readying the official launch of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 at an event in San Francisco on Nov. 7. The company is expected to get Visual Studio 2005 in developers' hands sometime this week on the Microsoft Developer Network ahead of the official release, according to Allen and information on a discussion forum on Microsoft's Channel 9 Web site. Channel 9 is a site that provides information and forums dedicated to discussion between Microsoft and its developers and customers.
Representatives from the Visual Studio team at Microsoft's public relations firm Waggener Edstrom Inc. did not return requests for comment today.