Microsoft has been criticised for missing its self-imposed deadline to provide promised add-ons to Windows Vista Ultimate.
Vista Ultimate Extras, available only to customers running the top-end Vista edition, was one of the features cited by Microsoft to distinguish the £320 Vista Ultimate from its £185 cousin, Vista Home Premium. Microsoft's online marketing, for instance, touted Extras as "cutting-edge programs, innovative services, and unique publications" that would be regularly offered to Ultimate users.
But by June, Microsoft had not released any new Extras since it issued a beta of DreamScene, a video screensaver, in February. That infuriated some users; several days later, Microsoft tried to defuse the situation by promising to wrap up DreamScene and 20 unfinished language packs.
"We apologise for taking so long to provide a status update to customers," said Barry Goffe, the director of Vista Ultimate, in a posting to a Microsoft blog on July 2. "We intend to ship Windows DreamScene and the remaining 20 Language Packs by the end of the summer."
But summer has come and gone, and users now say there has been nothing new from Extras. "Even if the Windows Ultimate team has fled to the International Date Line, summer is officially over," said Windows enthusiast Long Zheng, who blogs at iStartedSomething. Zheng was one of those who turned up the heat on Microsoft earlier in the summer with several postings about the Extras' no-show. "Normally I wouldn't care what season it is in the northern hemisphere, but today it proves this team is incapable [of] delivering anything and should never be trusted again.
"The truth is, customers are getting near to nothing [from Extras]," Zheng said on Sunday.
Most users who left comments on Zheng's blog said they too felt bamboozled. "While I didn't only purchase Ultimate so that I could get the extras, it certainly was a deciding factor," said a user identified as T-Man. "The thought of getting something more was certainly appealing. Especially given the price premium for Ultimate, this is certainly a very hard pill to swallow."