Vista Ultimate Customers Await Their 'Extras'

Some customers who paid a premium for Windows Vista Ultimate did so partially because of a promise of additional features, called "Windows Ultimate Extras." Up until now, those "Extras" were in short supply, leading some to wonder if Microsoft was playing politician -- promising something for everyone to get elected (or bought), then forgetting those promises after the election (or purchase).

Vista Ultimate has been out more than half a year now, and several prominent Windows bloggers have been asking when more Extras are coming, as Microsoft has released just a few goodies so far. For example, the blogger Long Zheng writes about his frustrations.

"Almost 180 days ago, we started with language packs, BitLocker "enhancements," a poker game and desktop videos," Zheng states. "A hundred and eighty days later, the sea level has probably changed more. If you look at it from the 'glass is half full' perspective, 4 extras in 6 months, not excellent but we're still okay. If you look at it from the 'glass is half empty' perspective, we started with 4, and 6 months later, we're still at 4, we've got a problem."

Zheng concludes, "It's safe to say, anyone who paid for Ultimate with their own blood and sweat is going to go with the latter perspective."

Josh Phillips of Windows Connected has some questions for the Vista team: "So what is up guys, have you gone on an extended vacation? Are we not going to see any more Extras? Is Microsoft out of ideas for what to offer? Anyone else disappointed in this so far?"

Microsoft, perhaps sensing this disappointment, has said the rest of the promised Extras are coming soon. An announcement on a Vista Ultimate blog apologized for the delays and chalked them up to its pursuit of high standards.

"We want to let our Windows Vista Ultimate customers know that we are actively working to deliver the remaining Extras that we identified in January," the statement said. "We apologize for taking so long to provide a status update to customers."

Microsoft identified two specific products -- DreamScene and 20 Language Packs -- that it said it "intends" to ship by the end of the summer.

DreamScene can convert a video into a animated desktop image. It works only for those using Vista's high-end Aero interface. The Extras released so far include a Hold 'Em poker game, a hard drive encryption utility called Windows BitLocker, and Secure Online Key Backup, another security technology.

The blog entry also stated vaguely that "we intend to deliver additional Extras in the future." No details were given, but it was called a "collection" of additional Extras. The time frame was listed as "the next couple years," and stated that more information on the new Extras would be announced when DreamScene and the additional language packs are released.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at [email protected].