As promised, Microsoft today released the so-called “Enterprise” Community Technical Preview (Build 5308) of Windows Vista to a select group of beta testers as well as MSDN and TechNet subscribers. It is now feature complete and John Clyman at PC Magazine has done some tire kicking and provides screenshots.
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.
“Windows Vista is as much, if not more, a business focused release that will provide significant value for business customers,” Goldberg said. He cited four examples of how the operating will benefit companies: deployment and support costs, security, connecting people and information, and mobile productivity.
It’s not clear what lead to their belief that business use of Vista had slipped everyone’s mind, but the speculation is that the proximate cause was Bill Gates’ demo of it as a home and entertainment platform at CES (see also ). Whatever the reason, this CTP does not lack the consumer features.
In fairness, Microsoft did provide some information about future support offerings for deploying Vista in enterprises:
The Redmond, Wash. software maker also gave information about a number of deployment tools and imaging technologies that will be made available alongside Vista, including the Windows Vista Application Compatibility Toolkit, the new user state migration toolkit and the new image format that provides neutrality across languages and form factors.
The next CTP is scheduled for 2nd quarter and is reported to be “targeted at the broader consumer market.”