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Calling it "Vista’s Make Or Break Moment," Yahoo! News reports on the pending launch of the second round of Beta testing for the much delayed new version of Windows, currently slated for release in early 2007.

According to one Vista tester quoted in the article:

“There’s too much variation in performance from one build to another,” said Brandon LeBlanc, a Portland, Ore.-based Vista tester and contributor to a number of Windows community sites, including MSTechToday, LonghornBlogs and LiveSide.Net. “The changes they are continuing to make at this stage disrupt performance too much. You’d imagine they would have gotten past this stage by Beta 2.”

Testers said that if the next build of Vista doesn’t improve dramatically, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will have a tough time sticking to the outline the company issued in late March. Microsoft’s current timeline calls for the company to release the final Vista code to manufacturing this summer or fall, allowing customers under volume-licensing agreements to get their hands on the code by November, 2006. Microsoft executives have maintained that the dual launches of Vista and Office 2007 is on for January 2007, when code for both products will be available to all customers.

Microsoft needs to get this one right, schedule be damned. Everyone has already given up on the schedule, and with the holiday sales season already lost what difference would a few more months make?

Against this, releasing a buggy product that has already seen several delays and feature reductions “on schedule” next Spring would simply make business users wait until an updated version is made available. The reputational loss of a delay, at this point, is much lower than that of a buggy operating system.

Source: Microsoft Needs to Get it Right This Time (MSFT)