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Vista Season Finally Kicking Off

There’s something about anticipation that becomes impossible to shake. It just builds, getting better and worse at the same time, the closer we get to an important or potentially exciting event. It becomes all-consuming, something that’s in the back of our minds all the time and in the front of our minds most of the time. Kids can’t wait for Christmas. Movie buffs can’t wait for the latest film starring their favorite actors. Book hounds can’t wait to pick up the most recent tomes from their favorite authors.

And I can’t wait for football season. All summer, it just sort of brews -- thoughts about my teams’ upcoming games, memories of great and not-so-great moments past, Google (or maybe even MSN) searches to see what former players are up to. Then, when the cool winds of September -- hey, I’m based in New England -- begin to blow, it arrives. Finally. The college season kicks off, and then the NFL retakes its place as America’s premiere sports spectacle. Victory is never guaranteed (especially as far as my Dallas Cowboys are concerned in recent years), but, at least, all seems right with the world when heavily padded men are tossing an oval ball around the gridiron.

And so it is with Windows Vista. After all the delays, all the beta reviews, all the discussion, all the criticism and all the jokes, it’s really coming. Not today, not by the time football season kicks off, but soon, and maybe even by Microsoft’s latest targeted release date. As is always the case with Redmond, nothing is guaranteed -- not dates, not initial quality. And partners know that most wise IT shops will wisely let Vista mature a bit before buying into it. But, last week’s limited release of a pre-Release Candidate 1 of Vista got some very solid reviews, which is good news given some of the rough treatment reviewers gave Beta 2 a few months back.

There are signs, too, that the dates for Vista’s release are starting to come together. For one thing, you can pre-order some editions of Vista -- slated for a Jan. 30 release date -- now. (Thanks to Derek for the link.) Also, thanks to our friends in the Great White North, we have an idea of how much Vista is going to cost (hint: a lot). (We even have our friends, those shy, timid Mac folks, reminding us that Apple’s OS generates more profit per user than Windows .)

All of this, while ripe for commentary on many fronts, is encouraging. These are the first snaps of training camp, the first cool breezes of September blowing away Adobe legal gripes, European Union fines, investor grousing and the long, hot days of summer in Redmond. Prices, release candidates, Amazon.com listings ... Vista is real, and it might actually be available more or less when Microsoft last said it would be. On top of that, it might also actually be pretty darn good right out of the box. It remains to be seen whether Vista will be a Super Bowl contender or an also-ran upon its debut, but at least the season finally appears close to getting under way.

Have any thoughts about Vista pricing? Or timing? Have any experience with the pre-RC1 build? I’m all eyes at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 08/29/2006 at 1:19 PM


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