Jim Allchin, the Co-President of Co-President of Microsoft’s Platforms, Products & Services Division is on a press and analyst tour and is providing a wealth of Vista news.
Mary Jo Foley at Microsoft Watch relates that Allchin says that “there will be no single, catch-all Beta 2 of Vista” and recounts the rather convoluted new plan:
The December CTP, Build 5270, which Microsoft released to testers in mid-December is the “partner” CTP, Allchin said.
A first quarter CTP, which is going to Technology Adoption Program (TAP) testers, is the “enterprise CTP,” he said. The TAP build, which many company watchers are expecting to hit in February, will include functionality that will allow the build to install on top of Windows XP, Allchin said. The TAP CTP is widely expected to include the Windows Sidebar pane, but Allchin said that it still is not 100 percent certain that the Sidebar will make it into this build.
Microsoft also is planning a third CTP, the Customer Preview Program (CPP) release, for release in the second calendar quarter, Allchin said. Company watchers are expecting the CPP CTP in April.
The latest and next two Vista CTPs all will be labeled as “Beta 2″ releases. But Allchin said there won’t be a single, traditional Beta 2 or any kind of usual “Release Candidates” for Vista as the product moves toward its release to manufacturing, which is still on track for the second half of this year. It will be all CTPs from here on out.
There’s much more by following the link including a somewhat vague “Windows Anytime Upgrade” plan that replaces the rumored “all Vista bits on one CD” idea.
Ina Fried at CNET has more on the testing schedule and:
Several key decisions about Vista have yet to be publicly announced, such as its exact hardware requirements, or in which editions the software will be sold. (Windows XP’s standard versions are Home, Professional, Media Center and Tablet PC editions.) Allchin did say that Microsoft will not have a distinct Tablet or Media Center edition, though those features will be part of Vista.
Microsoft has said it will offer an Enterprise edition as part of its software assurance volume licensing program. The company has also been considering an “ultimate edition” that would combine the best of Windows Vista’s corporate and consumer features. Other possibilities include a small business edition, as well as more standard home and corporate versions.
Longhorn Server is also on track for release some time next year, Allchin said. The product will have a Beta 2 in the first half of the year and a Beta 3 version in the second half.
Other Allchin interviews:
- Vista’s Transparency Is Good News by David Coursey:
I remain concerned that Vista lacks a major selling point aside from security.
Q: Leon Malinofsky, a lawyer from Northhampton, Mass., asks: For home users that aren’t into high-definition entertainment, why do they need Vista? What’s the killer feature for the average home PC user?
Allchin: I think that safety and security is the overriding feature that most people will want to have Windows Vista for–even if they’re not into home entertainment or in any of the specialty areas. They’re just going to feel more safe and secure by using it for a variety of features, whether it be in terms of the anti-malware protection or the anti-phishing protection or in the fact that we can put IE (Internet Explorer) in a sandbox and protect people from accidentally getting bad information or bad code on their systems.
If that’s the big selling point, I think the overriding reason that people will get Vista is that it came on the PC they just bought. It’s still a good business for Microsoft, though.
Update 1/28: Paul Thurrott’s Allchin interview has a slightly different take on the Vista CTP rollout than that described above. He reports that the mid-February CTP will be feature complete and a tentative date of April 12 for the third CTP in the “Beta 2″ group.