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Where's Wally Vista SP2?

Coming soon-ish to a miserable computer near you

An increasingly cautious Microsoft hasn’t announced a definitive date for when its unloved OS Vista will get its final service pack release, other than to offer a wishy-washy second quarter of 2009 statement.

Despite that, many reports are suggesting the software giant’s Vista SP2 schedule has slipped by about a month.

The official word from Microsoft in December 2008 was simply that the service pack would land at some point in the first half of this year.

Redmond execs have been attempting to keep release dates close to their chest having learned from past mistakes about giving world+dog too much information about when it hopes a product would RTM, only to be hit by pesky delays.

However, according to Malaysian website, which regularly enjoys a good old fashioned cat and mouse tussle with Microsoft over its service pack releases, the company won’t provide a release candidate build of Vista SP2 until March.

It had been widely expected to land next month. Instead, come February, a presumably select bunch of Windows testers will be able to tinker with code that Microsoft has described as a “release candidate escrow build”.

El Reg asked Microsoft if it could provide any more details on when Vista SP2 will finally RTM. The firm gave us this canned statement:

“Microsoft is targeting a Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 SP2 delivery in Q2 2009. As always, the final release date is based on quality and we will track customer and partner feedback from the beta program before setting a final date for distribution.”

So there you have it: The company has moved from its stance that the service pack would arrive in H1 2009 to telling us it will pin the tail on the Vista donkey in the second quarter - so some time around May or June, then.

What’s more significant is the fact that Microsoft is in such a hurry to shove Vista SP2 out the door. Compared to XP, Vista’s lifespan has been nasty, brutish and short.

And the troubled operating system’s bad smell is still lingering.

Later today MS attorneys will face plaintiffs who allege that Microsoft artificially inflated demand in the run-up to Christmas 2006, by falsely advertising that PCs would be capable of running the full version of Vista, even though the OS didn’t get a general release until January 2007. ®

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