In the final days of July, Microsoft held an analyst meeting at its Redmond Wash headquarters, where it was notably unclear about the release of its new Windows Vista operating system. Though they declined to give solid details, industry experts feel there may be a strong chance for more delays.

Kevin Johnson, co-president of Microsoft's platforms division, told analysts that Microsoft will ship Windows Vista when it is available, at the conference, but experts reviewing the latest test (beta) version still see many hurdles.

While Microsoft is certainly making progress, Steve Kleynhans, Gartner Research analyst stated, I don't expect to see a finished product in November.

On a brief posted on Gartners website he states that there are still many quirks, potentially hindering the software from release.

Based on more than 15 years of experience with Microsoft beta programs, Kleynhans asserts, I'd say they are getting close, but they are into the hardest part of the testing: finding the corner cases and quirky bugs, a phase that can take from three to six months.

He continues, noting that the software is stable enough for day-to-day use, however, there are still many intermittent problems.

I've begun noticing a large number of small glitches and failures which can't be reproduced, and while performance is much better, it is also unpredictable. It's not unusual to find my system suddenly lock up for minute or longer, he added.

Shaw Wu of American Technology Research has also commented in research released on Tuesday, expecting Vista to be further delayed due to stability issues observed in Microsoft's latest Beta 2.

A delay in Vista shipments could have a negative impact on the PC industry. Some experts, such as Merrill Lynch's Richard Farmer, already contend slow PC growth as consumers delay purchases anticipating the new software. Delays could further set back hardware manufacturers.

The Redmond company has its own incentive to get the product out as well. During the quarterly earnings conference call with analysts on the 20th, Microsoft said any delay in its new Windows operating system could cost the company upwards of $400 million.