A research note released this week from Gartner predicts that Microsoft will miss its target to ship Windows Vista on PCs by January 2007. According to Gartner, Vista won\u2019t be broadly available to customers until the second quarter of 2007.The report, written by Gartner analysts Michael Silver, David Mitchell Smith, Stephen Kleynhans and Neil MacDonald, uses the release schedules of previous major Windows releases to prove its point. It was 16 months between beta 2 and the release to manufacturing of Windows 2000, according to the report. That process for Windows XP took only five months, which is the same time frame Microsoft has provided for Vista. However, the development of Windows Vista for Microsoft is more on par with Windows 2000 in terms of its scope, report co-writer Smith said in an interview Tuesday. Vista marks a major overhaul to the OS, just as Windows 2000 did when it was released, he said. This means it likely will take about nine to 12 months, not five months, for Microsoft to make Vista stable enough for final release following beta 2, Smith said."Windows Vista to 2000 is more of an apples to apples comparison," he said. "If you think about what XP is and was, a lot of people said [it] was, \u2018Take Windows 2000 and make it pretty.\u2019 Most of the heavy lifting had been done with 2000. Vista is more like that."According to Microsoft\u2019s current release schedule, Vista should be in manufacturers\u2019 hands by October, and available to business customers through its volume licensing program in late November or early December. Microsoft has said that the final beta 2 release of Vista will come in May or June. Even if that is correct, Smith said, it still means Vista won\u2019t be released to manufacturing until at least February 2007, according to Gartner estimates. Typically, the general release of the OS comes about two months after that, which would put Vista\u2019s general release on PCs at about April 2007 if all goes well, the report said.Microsoft announced in March that Windows Vista would not be available on PCs in time for the busy holiday shopping season from late November to late December, as previously scheduled. Since then, observers and analysts have said that since the company did not make that important target, Vista might as well be delayed\u00a0until mid-2007.In its research note, Gartner advised business customers to continue to prepare for Vista\u2019s release, but not to\u00a0plan too far in advance according to Microsoft\u2019s current release dates for Vista."Microsoft can\u2019t accurately predict them more than a few months out, and organizations that are too reliant on Microsoft making shipment dates are leaving themselves open to excessive risk," the report warned.-Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News ServiceThis article is posted on our Microsoft Informer page. For more news on the Redmond, Wash.-based powerhouse, keep checking in.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.