Microsoft And The Vista Shakeup

UPDATED: Vista delays could cause heads to roll and create a marketing bonanza for consumers.

UPDATED: Microsoft is refusing to comment on reports it plans to shake up the Windows group following yesterday's bombshell that the consumer version of Windows Vista won't be available until after the crucial Christmas shopping period.

Meanwhile experts are assessing the fallout for consumers and companies faced with another delay in the world's most popular computer operating system.

Tuesday, Microsoft announced the consumer version of Windows Vista won't be sold until January. A day later, reports indicate Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsoft's platforms and services division, will be replaced.

A Microsoft spokesperson refused to confirm or deny a Wall Street Journal Report that Steve Sinofsky of the software company's Office division will replace Allchin.

"We have no information to share at this time," Microsoft spokesperson Jessica Crozier told internetnews.com.

While Microsoft is reluctant to talk, analysts aren't surprised word is leaking out about a possible shakeup. Change is expected whenever you miss such an important milestone, according to David Smith, a Gartner analyst. Smith called news of the delay disappointing.

"This is clearly an endemic problem," said Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. Microsoft missed the 2005 deadline when Vista was Longhorn. The misstep requires house cleaning, according to Enderle.

"As much as 30 percent of new PC sales could be nerfed by this," Enderle explains. The PC industry was looking at Vista for all of its sales.

"Microsoft is going to feel the pain: over 80 percent of desktop Windows are through sales of new PCs," said Rob Helm of Directions on Microsoft. Helm said that PC sales are slowing because people were waiting for Vista to be released.

That pain could amount to $845 million, the amount financial analyst firm S.G. Cowen & Co. estimates the delay might cost Microsoft next year.

"At the top of the list of losers would be PC retailers," said Charles King, analyst with Pund-It. He said retailers depend heavily on Christmas sales, and Vista was at the top of their wish list.

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