Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/1999/10/19/ms_spin_doctors_explain_win2k/

MS spin doctors ‘explain’ Win2k slippage to 2000

When people say 'that's what we always said,' you should note the moving goalposts

By John Lettice

Posted in Business, 19th October 1999 10:22 GMT

Microsoft's marketing elves seem to be spinning busily, following the latest fix on Windows 2000's final ship date. From these it looks like Microsoft will make it to finally beta (Release Candidate 3) immediately before Comdex, but RTM (Release to Manufacture) clearly won't be achieved for a big launch at Las Vegas. So for actual, in-your-hands, running on new PCs code, the date is going to be at least February, as we've been saying here for some time, and could even according to some sources be April. How could this be, if the latest RC3 and RTM dates (November 11 and December 9, respectively) seem achievable? The ship dates now will inevitably have a lot more to do with marketing than coding, and hence the appearance of the marketing elves. A few months back actually being able to RTM for Comdex was an obvious Microsoft target, but as this can't be done, the company has to fall back on talking up the final release candidate instead. But note that with RTM in December, there isn't really that much to shoot for. After RTM the PC manufacturers will do their own testing and then put it on to production Win2k machines, and they could conceivably do that in around six weeks, which is how you get to the February date. There is however no great need for them to do this, as Q1 is the worst sales quarter of the year, even in years when customers aren't lying back twitching after (they hope) getting over the Y2K hump. So although Microsoft will still be beating the drum around February way, and will no doubt have happy looking OEM manufacturers in tow, serious volumes are unlikely to be moving until Q2, i.e. April. That, barring the unexpected appearance of something really horrible in RC3, is surely the approximate reality. But in the elves' distortion field, reality is as follows, and it's already been communicated to us by several early eye witnesses. They've started briefing customers and partners that Microsoft is on-track for 1999, but that Microsoft always meant by this (i.e., always ever since Microsoft started saying on-track for 1999) that it would RTM before the end of the year. Which of course means it doesn't actually ship until 2000, but that, they say, is what they've always been saying. ®