One of the benefits of of paying a premium price for the Ultimate version of Windows Vista was the promise of exclusive extras – free programs, services, and related content that you wouldn’t get if you didn’t fork over the loot for the priciest version of Vista. The only problem is that after an initial burst of a few “extras” after launch, they have been mostly conspicuous by their absence and far short of the cornucopia that had been promised (cf. Long Zheng’s Windows Ultimate Extras is a sham – where’s the responsibility?). This is a clearly a black eye for for Microsoft’s attempt to create a premium Vista brand and today Microsoft’s Barry Goffe (Director, Windows Vista Ultimate) attempted to placate the customers:
We want to let our Windows Vista Ultimate customers know that we are actively working to deliver the remaining Extras that we identified in January. Our goal is to provide the highest-quality, most secure and reliable offerings, and as a result we are continuing our work on these offerings. We apologize for taking so long to provide a status update to customers.
We intend to ship Windows DreamScene and the remaining 20 Language Packs by the end of the summer. We will not ship the last two Extras showcased in January (Windows DreamScene and the remaining 20 Language Packs) until they meet the high quality bar required by our enthusiastic customers—and we believe that we can achieve that bar by the end of this summer.
We also intend to deliver additional Extras in the future. In addition to Windows DreamScene and the remaining Language Packs, we plan to ship a collection of additional Windows Ultimate Extras over the next couple years that we are confident will delight our passionate Windows Vista Ultimate customers.
Goffe wouldn’t provide details on the latter, but if they are in the same vein as the language packs and the DreamScene video wallpaper, they aren’t going to set too many techie hearts aflutter whenever they finally manage to show up. Of course, maybe they’ll include a discount coupon on the next version of Windows.
The net is that the whole “extras” programs seems to have been ill-conceived and ill-executed and promises to be an albatross around Vista’s neck “over the next couple of years” at least.