MAPS, Durban – While there is speculation in certain quarters that Microsoft's next operating platform, Windows 7, could become available in beta form as early as next year, the company's CTO says there is no rush to get Vista's replacement to market.
Microsoft chief technology officer, Barry Briggs says that the company's IT department is working with Windows 7 at present as part of a testing programme – something it does with every iteration of Microsoft software – but that very few details of its new features have been made public.
"We haven't released a lot of detail [about Windows 7] to the public, but one feature that will be big is our touch interface," Briggs says. "But there are a lot of other things coming, too. The second beta of IEA will be released later this month, for example, and there will be a lot of additional features in that version.
"It's a scenario where we absolutely continue to invest."
Briggs doesn't believe that Windows 7 wil be fast-tracked, though, simply due to the unique kind of product that Windows is.
"Windows is unique in the history of human civilization," he says. "It has to delight both the CIO of the largest investment trader with features such as security, robustness, interoperability and, at the same time, it has to delight grandmothers.
"And that's in every country in the world, and in multiple languages," he says. "That's a tremendous undertaking."
So was Vista launched to market too quickly? Briggs defends Vista despite its lukewarm reception and the fact that corporates such as Intel still haven't adopted it.
"There are those that would say that [Vista was launched too soon], and there's a lot of controversy in the blogosphere, but there are other views," he says, pointing to the "Mohave Experiment" as an example.
"As for Intel … you'd have to ask them. I suspect that at some point they will upgrade.
"We have 140-million issues of Vista and we're feeling pretty good in terms of issues like compatibility," he says.
So, as Microsoft's own in-house test centre, what were the problems he faced with the implementation of Vista.
Briggs shrugs the question off.
"Obviously we had a few, but it's been long enough that I don't remember," he says. "I can't say that we didn't have problems – we certainly did – but we'd report these and work with the product teams and resolve any problems.
"They find our feedback very valuable," he says.