Just when on Earth is Vista actually coming out? Microsoft seems very unsure. Despite the recent release of Beta 2, chief executive Steve Ballmer said yesterday that the new OS might not make its announced January delivery date after all. I can't say I’m too surprised.

In fact, as it turns out, Microsoft is not really committed to a January roll-out for consumers of Vista as other company executives have claimed. However, Ballmer does seem to be indicating that the product will ship in 2007 sometime, and will not fall into 2008. Feedback from the just-released Vista Beta 2 will help things along, but it’s not likely that we will see Vista until half way through next year at least.

Technical issues are not the only ones causing Microsoft headaches over Vista - legal ones are too. Symantec has recently launched a lawsuit against Microsoft, challenging the company's use of new disk technology in Vista, which could cause even further delays. Ballmer dismissed such concerns, though, saying that the case would not impact Vista’s release date. We shall see.