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January 27, 2006

Allchin says Microsoft will skip Vista Beta 2

Posted by David Hunter at 8:02 PM ET.

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.

The Vista Enterprise Edition restricted to Software Assurance customers was announced in September and has already drawn some customer criticism.

Other Allchin interviews:

- Allchin Discusses Possible Changes at Microsoft

- Allchin willing to delay Windows Vista for quality

- Allchin: Buy Vista for the security

- Vista’s Transparency Is Good News by David Coursey:

I remain concerned that Vista lacks a major selling point aside from security.

- Windows chief fields readers’ questions (mentioned previously here):

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.

Filed under Beta and CTP, Executives, Jim Allchin, OS - Client, OS - Server, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista

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3 Responses to “Allchin says Microsoft will skip Vista Beta 2”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Longhorn Server beta and CTP plan Says:

    [...] While most of the operating system questions on last week’s Jim Allchin publicity tour had to do with Windows Vista, he didn’t forget Longhorn Server. 2006 may be the year for shipping Vista, but Longhorn betas and CTPs will be rolling out as well on the road to its ship in 2007. David Lowe, a senior product manager in the Windows Server group, reveals more details at the Windows Server Division Weblog: That’s all well and good, but when can *I* get to see it?” you cry. Well, you won’t have to wait too much longer. We’re planning to kick off a Customer Technology Preview (CTP) program to coincide with Beta 2, which will arrive in the second quarter of this year. That means all MSDN and TechNet subscribers will be able to download it and start playing with fun new things like Network Access Protection, Server Core, IIS 7.0, Terminal Services Gateway and Remote Applications. You’ll also get to pair it with Windows Vista to see the performance and reliability improvements we’ve made in our completely redesigned TCP/IP stack. [...]

  2. Microsoft News Tracker » Microsoft releases Enterprise CTP of Vista Says:

    [...] When Microsoft discontinued the monthly CTPs in January and apparently felt the need to come up with new names for remaining ones, the expectation was that the “Enterprise” appellation indicated that this CTP was to be the first one explicitly rolled out to the business customers in Microsoft’s Technology Adoption Program who have volunteered to use it in production environments and report back. While that part is true, the nomenclature was apparently irresistible to the marketers who felt compelled to remind us that Vista is for business too: In a conference call Wednesday, General Manager of Windows Client Product Management Brad Goldberg heralded the Enterprise CTP — numbered build 5308 — as a “call to action for businesses.” Microsoft is encouraging enterprises to begin testing out new features starting today. [...]

  3. Microsoft News Tracker » Microsoft to offer instant Vista upgrades Says:

    [...] Ed Bott ties together the announced Vista versions with the previously rumored “Anytime Upgrade” plan: Today at Ed Bott’s Microsoft Report on ZDNet, I listed some of the upgrade scenarios that will be possible when Windows Vista ships. All three consumer versions – Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate – will be included on the same CD or DVD. You don’t need to go to the store and purchase a new shrink-wrapped box to upgrade; all you have to do is go to Control Panel and run the Windows Anytime Upgrade program. [...]

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