Has Microsoft finally got its update cycle under control?

Over at ZDNet I’ve just posted a lengthy analysis of how Microsoft releases service packs and other major Windows updates. I decided to perform this analysis after reading several reports suggesting that Microsoft was “rushing” Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista. Here’s my response:

They all need to dust off their Windows history books to see that the reality is exactly the opposite. If Vista SP2 does make its official appearance in April, it will mark a return to normal development and release cycles for Microsoft, which lost its way badly with Windows XP.

I’ve got the proof, in easy-to-read chart format. Here’s a timeline of every Windows service pack Microsoft has delivered since the release of Windows NT 4.0 in July 1996. Each color-coded bar represents the number of days between each service pack and its predecessor (RTM, in the case of SP1 releases). See any patterns?

A big hat tip to Ask Mr. Excel for his excellent step-by-step instructions on how to create the timeline charts I used for this story.

Go read the whole thing:

With Vista SP2, Microsoft is back on track

2 thoughts on “Has Microsoft finally got its update cycle under control?

  1. It would perhaps be more accurate to say that we lost our way with the rise of the internets. Without the increase in virus traffic in the early 90s I suspect that you would have seen a pretty typical SP release schedule for XP.

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