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May 23, 2006

Microsoft launches beta 2 of Vista, Office 2007, and Longhorn Server

Posted by David Hunter at 3:25 PM ET.

Press release:

Speaking today at the Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2006, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced the immediate availability of beta 2 versions of Windows Vista™, the 2007 Microsoft® Office system and the next version of Windows Server™, code-named Windows Server “Longhorn.” It is the first time that Microsoft has simultaneously released the test versions of all three of the company’s flagship products.

At CNET, the latter part came out as:

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates called the release of the three test versions a milestone, noting it was the first time that all three products had been at the same place in the development cycle.

Apparently it was said with a straight face. If you can’t fix it, feature it, I guess.

Back to the press release:

Windows Vista Beta 2 and Windows Server “Longhorn” Beta 2 are available now to developers and IT professionals with MSDN® and TechNet subscriptions, as well as to members of the Technology Adoption Program (TAP) and the TechBeta program. In coming weeks, Microsoft will start the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP) to allow developers and IT professionals who are not a part of those programs to obtain the code and begin their own testing. Also as part of the CPP, Microsoft will invite a broader group of technology enthusiasts to receive a build of the operating system to begin testing the various consumer scenarios that Windows Vista enables. WinHEC attendees will receive DVDs of the Windows Vista and Windows Server “Longhorn” Beta 2 releases. The 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 2 is available via free download in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish languages at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview.

As for what was delivered, there will be many reviews, I’m sure, but a good starting point is eWeek who already has slide shows and quick looks:

While you’re there, note this confidence builder in the Vista quick look:

In particular, Vista’s new 3D Aero Glass user interface, the one causing most of the are-you-Vista-ready ruckus, tends to flake out at times. As our tests with Longhorn Server illustrated for us, however, Vista manages to deliver the goods without Aero Glass enabled at all.

We”ll mark that one down as another feature and not inquire too closely into the nature and novelty of the “goods.”

Finally, Bob Muglia has a Q&A describing what’s happening with Longhorn and unsurprisingly, a Certified for Windows Vista logo program was also announced.



Filed under Beta and CTP, Microsoft, OS - Client, OS - Server, Office, Office 2007, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista

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3 Responses to “Microsoft launches beta 2 of Vista, Office 2007, and Longhorn Server”

  1. Ballmer admits further Vista delay possible -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] “We think we are on track for shipping early in the year. We’ve talked about the month, but we get a chance to critically assess all of the feedback we’ll get from this beta release then confirm or move [the launch date] a few weeks,” he said at a news conference in Tokyo. So far, the feedback on the latest Vista beta has revealed a plethora of “issues” ([1], [2]), but we’ve been around this topic before and the ship date is really of importance to Microsoft profits only in that it marks the start of the opportunity to upsell Vista and get more milk from the client cash cow. Nonetheless it will still be an embarrassment. Chris Kraeuter at Forbes: Another delay of a few weeks wouldn’t mean so much to Microsoft, but it would be yet another indication of the unwieldy nature of its software. Ballmer also introduced another issue: “The other thing, frankly, which we are discussing with NEC and other hardware partners is when would they really like it–early January, late January, February–so it depends on when the next roll-over, the next turn of the machine cycle will be and that would be the best time to ship it based on beta feedback,” he said. Frankly, that seems to me to be a red herring. If Microsoft had a firm date for a ship-ready Vista, the OEMs would have no problem planning a rollout to fit and a few weeks would be inconsequential. As it is, everyone is flying by the seat of their pants. Filed under OS – Client, Windows Vista, Executives, Steve Ballmer, General Business, Financial, Microsoft Listen to this article   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Microsoft launches Customer Preview Program for Vista Beta 2 -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Late last night Microsoft launched the Customer Preview Program for Beta 2 of Windows Vista where ordinary users can download Beta 2 (which was made available to a restricted audience at WinHec06) and install it for a test drive. Reportedly the download servers are very busy handling the demand for the multi-gigaybyte DVD images, but you can also get a DVD mailed to you. Filed under OS – Client, Windows Vista, Beta and CTP, Microsoft   [Permalink] [...]

  3. Microsoft ships August CTP of Windows Server Longhorn -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Go get it now and let us know what you think! Hmm, an August CTP released on September 9. I hope that isn’t a Vista-esque omen! Snarky comments aside, Longhorn Beta 2 was released in May along with the Beta 2’s of Vista and Office 2007. Since Longhorn isn’t due until late 2007 and the other two are due in early 2007 it looks like its schedule is rather less hectic. [...]

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