Microsoft Delays SP1 for Most Vista Ultimate Languages

Vista PCs running the Ultimate edition in English, French, German, Japanese or Spanish will get the service pack first.

Users running Windows Vista Ultimate in any language other than English, French, German, Japanese or Spanish will not be getting Service Pack 1 when it is first released.

Microsoft is now planning to release Vista SP1 in two waves: First, Vista PCs running the Ultimate edition in English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish will get the service pack, followed by a second wave supporting the other 31 languages, Nick White, a product manager, said in a post to the Windows Vista team blog.

SP1 for Vista Ultimate will also only be delivered over Windows Update as well as via a stand-alone installer when it is made available in these two waves. If a user tries to install SP1 on a Vista Ultimate machine set for a language other than the first five supported, the result will be an error message.

This delay apparently only affects Vista Ultimate, the most expensive edition of the operating system, although Microsoft said the week of Feb. 25 it was slashing the price of the boxed, retail version of Vista Ultimate, in the United States and in 70 other countries around the world.

The price cuts go into effect when Vista SP1 ships. In the United States, the cost of Vista Ultimate has been slashed some 20 percent, or $80, to $319, while the upgrade price dropped $40 to a price of $219.

But the price cuts are even more significant in other countries, like the United Kingdom, where the price for the full version of Vista Ultimate has been slashed almost 44 percent, or 101.68 British pounds ($202), to 131.92 pounds ($262).

Vista SP1 is also extremely important to Microsoft as it fixes some of the many issues users have been having with the operating system and that have tarnished its image in the market.

In fact, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told eWEEK in a recent interview that the company had made a lot of progress with Windows Vista, especially on the SP1 front.

"I think SP1 is a major milestone, and a lot of the work on compatibility has come via the work of third-party ISVs and hardware vendors. But I think Windows Vista SP1 will be a kind of milepost that people will use to see where we are with it now," Ballmer said.

Meanwhile, White's post tells those Ultimate users who will have to wait longer for SP1, "not to worry-the Language Packs are on their way. We will have more information on exactly when very shortly, so stay tuned!"