Sure, every company hopes for an element of surprise when it is poised to launch a new product. But with an operating system that its developer hopes will power the majority of home and enterprise PCs in the not-too-distant future, it seems that a different set of expectations should apply.
Before Microsoft released Beta 1 of Vista client — the product so many of us fondly knew as Longhorn — company officials were reticent to provide definitive details about what would be part of the operating system. It was always "too early" to get real information on Vista. Officials were "too busy" hustling to get the code out to answer questions. And when word of expected functionality or packaging did leak, Microsoft brass gave no indication as to whether or not to believe what we were hearing.
But now that tens of thousands of testers have the Beta 1 bits in hand, it seems high time for the Windows team to put transparency ahead of trickery. To fail to do so will result in more confusing incidents like the false Vista virus reports.
When word first leaked last Thursday that a virus writer had unleashed five theoretical Vista viruses, Microsoft could have saved itself a huge headache by stating what at least a few of us in the press already had reported — that the "Monad" scripting shell, once slated to be part of Vista, had been pulled from the product.
But it took Microsoft spokespeople hours (in fact, overnight) to confirm officially that fact. And it wasnt until Monday (four days after the first "Vista virus" headlines began spreading) for an official to acknowledge the other key piece of information in this matter: Monad wont make it into Longhorn Server, either, according to a posting on the Windows Server blog. (Longhorn Server went to Beta 1 the same day that Vista client did.)