Users blast Microsoft over Vista SP1 schedule

Users upset over Microsoft's decision to postpone delivery of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) for six weeks have flooded a company blog with comments voicing their displeasure and frustration. Many of the users have identified themselves as developers, IT administrators and partners of the software vendor.

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One industry analyst agreed. "This is a sloppy use of the vocabulary," said Michael Cherry at Directions on Microsoft. Cherry, who has slammed Microsoft before for its use of labels - service packs, product roll-ups, RTM - continued that thrust yesterday. "They've been playing fast and loose with terms for a while," he said. "There always has been this gap between RTM and general availability, and a variety of things Microsoft would commonly do, such as build the media, do necessary checks against the code and do antivirus checks.

"But now is appears we have a release to manufacturing that is not a release," Cherry continued. "Have you really passed your final testing when there are an unknown number of device driver problems?"

As of today, Microsoft was sticking to its SP1 schedule: a mid-March posting of SP1 to Windows Update and a mid-April time frame for the update to automatically download and install on PCs that were free of the problematic drivers. A company spokeswoman, however, added that MSND and TechNet subscribers will be offered a DVD containing the full version of Windows Vista SP1 early next month.

But there were hints that Microsoft might modify SP1's schedule. According to the comment thread on the Vista blog, the company is aware of the discontent. "I'm reading all comments posted here to Mike's entry and forwarding your sentiments on timing to the SP1 Release team," said Nick White, a Vista program manager who is the regular writer of the group's blog. He then left the door open, if only a thin crack.

"I, for one, understand where you're coming from and am making that case accordingly," he added. "If anything changes, we'll announce it here on the blog."

A change of heart by Microsoft may come too late to change the minds of some users. "What were you guys thinking?" asked "sholloon." "This is one of the all-time worst moves from a PR perspective you've ever made."

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