To hear Microsoft tell it, Windows Vista's much publicized delay is not really the company's fault. After all, the operating system will ship this year to business customers and Microsoft says that it could have supported some of their PC customers, but chose to delay shipment to enable all of their PC customers time to prepare for the hot December (read: consumer) selling season. As a CNet interview with Microsoft's Brad Goldberg, the Microsoft executive notes:
The feedback we got from OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners, retailers, channel partners and others was pretty consistent. They were asking us for visibility around our ability to deliver broadly for consumers at the holiday season. They said the thing that would have been hardest and most challenging would have been getting to a point close to the holiday and either scaling back availability to the point where people wouldn't have the supply to meet demand, or that we would have to alter some plans after they had made investments. So, this decision was really made based on very consistent feedback we got from the industry about how to think about our release timing.
However, the conference call where Jim Allchin announced Vista's delay did not paint a picture of such consistency. Allchin says that Microsoft could have shipped for some OEMs but did not in order to provide a more universal quality standard. So, it leads one to think that the largest consumer-focused OEMs could have put the kibosh on Vista getting out the door this holiday season, and the one with the largest, most globally complex business at this point is certainly HP.