Secretive SP1 Planning
"The server has made a number of changes in common binaries, and there are a number of common binaries that we share, but all this will not be visible to end users in any real way," Zipkin said. He was also vague about whether SP1 will be released at the same time as Windows Server 2008, which Microsoft executives previously confirmed was the plan. Zipkin said that while they are related engineering projects, they are separate products and there is some engineering flexibility between them.Asked why Microsoft was so secretive about its plans for Vista SP1, even while it was prepared to talk publicly about Windows 7, the next version of Windows due around 2010, Zipkin said the company did not want to cause misdirection and pain for its customers and partners by saying too much, too soon. "Some people change their product schedules based on the information we share, and so we wanted to hold off until we had a reasonable level of confidence. We think this is the appropriate balance of giving customers and partners enough time for them to be ready for Vista SP1, and enough confidence on our side," he said. Microsoft is also sticking to its upbeat assessment of Vista and its current adoption path, with Zipkin telling eWEEK that the company is "happy with the momentum, which is moving along well," with some 42 million seats presently licensed through its volume licensing programs. He also pointed to a range of enterprises that have already started using Vista, including Infosys, which has 4,000 seats deployed to date but expects to have 20,000 by the end of the year, and Continental Airlines, with 2,000 seats already deployed and 10,000 expected by years end. Read here about a lawsuit over whether the Windows Vista Capable and Express Upgrade programs were deceptive. Zipkin also pointed out that there were 12 security issues and vulnerabilities with Vista in its first six months, versus the 36 Windows XP had over the same time period. Zipkin did, however, acknowledge that customer experiences with Vista range from excellent to frustrating, noting that Microsoft is addressing that in several ways, even before the release of SP1. "The first of these is device coverage and quality. We had 1.5 million devices covered when Vista was released to manufacturing, and we have added another 700,000 since then. We also now have over 10,000 logoed, and that number is increasing at a greater rate than it did for XP," he said. With regard to application compatibility, more than 70 enterprise applications, including anti-virus and VPN products, have been certified for Vista since its launch. These come from Citrix, Oracle, Sun, Hewlett-Packard, LANDesk and IBM, pushing the total number of applications that carry the Vista logo to nearly 2,100. "So, in a nutshell, you can see that good things are happening continuously. As devices and applications are remediated, we make those available as soon as possible, and, when appropriate, we make improvements over Windows Update or other channels," he said. The installed base for Windows is expected to cross the 1 billion mark. Read more here. The service pack is just another channel that Microsoft has for which to improve the customer experience. "We view SP1 as a vehicle for improvements and enhancements to existing features, but not for new features. We are going back to basics here and looking at service packs as a way to improve the overall experience customers are having, not to alter the value proposition," he said. Zipkin was evasive when asked if he believes many customers are waiting for the first service pack before seriously considering an upgrade. "Customers move at different times and for different reasons, and, yes, some customers do wait for SP1. Its hard to say if adoption will pick up more after SP1 is released," he said. Vista SP1 will include all previously released updates as well as performance improvements in key areas where the company has had the most customer feedback. Examples of this include the work the team is doing to improve the delays when hitting the Control, Alt, Delete keys simultaneously and trying to log on, as well as in improving the time it takes a system to resume from Hibernate and Standby, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Read more here about Microsofts previous claims that Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 will ship at the same time.