Exclusive: Microsoft Still Plans October 2006 Vista Release

According to sources at Microsoft, the company plans to ship Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1) in early September. More important, perhaps, is that Microsoft still plans to release Vista to manufacturing by the end of October as previously planned, defying rumors that the company would delay Vista yet again.

Although I'm not at liberty to divulge the full contents of the message, Microsoft has placed build 5520 into escrow as the RC1 of Vista. This build will be released to testers and the public after the Labor Day holiday in the United States, which falls this year on September 4. Currently, Microsoft expects to ship RC1 on or after September 7.

Meanwhile, the release to manufacturing RTM or final version of Vista is set for a September 2006 escrow and final release on or before October 25. We can expect a Longhorn Server Beta 3 release in first quarter 2007, an RC2 release in second quarter 2007 and the final release in the second half of 2007.

OneStat Windows Continues to Dominate

Microsoft's next generation OS Windows Vista continues to be horribly late but that hasn't stopped the current version Windows XP from dominating the OS market. Web analytics company OneStat.com says that XP is responsible for almost 87 percent of all Web usage while all Windows versions combined account for 97 percent of Web usage.

Microsoft's Windows dominates the operating system market with a global usage share of 96-97 percent, OneStat.com reports. The leading operating system on the Web is Microsoft's Windows XP with a global usage share of 86-80 percent. Microsoft's Windows 2000 has a global usage share of 6.09 percent and is the second most popular OS on the Web.

You read that right. Windows 2000 is the second most often used OS on the Web with almost three times the usage share of all Macintosh versions combined. During an event keynote last week Apple CEO Steve Jobs was quick to point out that Mac OS X was gaining market share but Apple has made only concrete gains in very specific markets such as retail sales of notebook computers in the US. In reality, Mac OS X usage is still below 2.5 percent worldwide. Even the 8-year-old Windows 98 with 2.68 percent of the market accounts for more users than OS X does.

Many had expected Apple's recent successes with the dominant iPod MP3 player and the move to Macs that use Intel chips to increase the company's share of the OS market. That hasn't happened yet, although it still could. With Vista not scheduled for general availability until early 2007, Apple has an opening during which it can sell Mac OS X systems to Windows converts while pushing its next generation OS code named Leopard.

According to OneStat.com, the following are the most frequently used OSs on the Web in the world.