Where should the world's largest software provider focus its energies?
For starters, get the Windows Live strategy, Microsoft's foray into Web-based applications, lined up, they said, while the Windows platform division reorganizes itself.
Second, they added, take some credit for the call -- amid the howls of criticism over the move.
"Weirdly enough, Microsoft might get some advantage from this," mused Charles King, an analyst with Pundit, a tech research firm.
King believes that Vista missing the lucrative Christmas period will hurt PC vendors, but that a delay based on security concerns could help its image.
"I don't think Microsoft gets the benefit of the doubt that some of its competitors get in the marketplace because it's seen as such a massive and complex organization," added Peter OKelly, analyst with the Burton Group.
Mark Stahlman of Caris and Company said the delay highlights Microsoft's greater emphasis on working with key partners and certifying security. "It's a positive for Microsoft," he said. "I think it's been very much misunderstood."