Vista SP2 and Windows 7 by the End of June 2009
The evolution of the Windows client, involving both Windows Vista (now with Service Pack 1) and Windows 7, appears to be closer than Microsoft is ready to acknowledge officially. Of course, Windows XP, even with Service Pack 3, is the past, with the exception of customers abandoning Windows Vista by exercising their downgrade rights. Windows Vista, even with SP1, is a present that makes the future seem to not get here fast enough. And Vista SP2 along with Windows 7 and Windows Cloud (Strata) are the future. But at the same time, both Vista SP2 and Windows 7 are nothing more than the evolution of Vista, to a lesser, and respectively a larger degree.
Come the end of October 2008, and the start of November, Microsoft will deliver a rather consistent taste of where it is heading with Windows, not only Windows 7, but also Windows 7 Server and Windows Strata (the label continues to be unconfirmed by the company). Events such as the Professional Developer Conference 2008, Windows Hardware Conference 2008 and TechEd EMEA will be focused on Windows 7 and Windows Cloud, although less on Windows Vista.
While at TechEd Brasil, at the start of this week, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer indicated that the company planned to unveil a range of new products by July 2009. Microsoft’s CEO mentioned that, by the end of June 2009, the software giant would offer “client operating system releases.” Microsoft is, of course, already cooking Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7.
Ballmer stated that “Microsoft technologies: Windows, Windows Server, .NET, Visual Studio, Silverlight, SharePoint, Office (…) over the course of the 12 month period that ends June of next year, [are] just a subset of all of the exciting new innovations Microsoft will bring to market: client operating system releases, information management tools, security, gaming products and systems. The range of new technologies in some senses is growing and growing quickly.” (emphasis added)
Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2)
Microsoft released Windows Vista RTM at the end of January 2007, not counting the business launch of the operating system in November 2006. Vista SP1 was released to manufacturing on February 4, 2008 concomitantly with Windows Server 2008, but was only made available for download starting March 18. Now the Redmond company has already moved onward to Service Pack 2.
In fact Vista SP2 invites to the Beta program have already started to be sent out, according to Neowin. It is not Windows Vista SP2 that Microsoft is cooking, but also Windows Server 2008 SP2, Beta invites for which have also been sent out. Microsoft has yet to confirm anything officially, but the first Beta bits for Windows Vista SP2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2 are reportedly going to testers in just four weeks.
Still, while Service Pack 1 was the catalyst that took Vista RTM out of coma, making the operating system worthy of a long forgotten and discarded Wow label, SP2 is bound to be nothing more than a standard service pack release. At best, SP2 will take Vista forward just as much as SP1.
The equation is rather simple for Microsoft. The company will end up with a repeat of the Windows XP SP2 – Windows Vista scenario in which both operating systems are available at the same time on the market, although this situation would involve Vista SP2 and Windows 7 RTM. The last thing that Microsoft needs is to evolve Vista with SP2 sufficiently enough that it will be capable to rival Windows 7. In this context, the answer is rather simple. The Redmond giant needs to keep Vista at a relative stand-still even with SP2, and focus all innovation on Windows 7.