Microsoft Reminds: No Vista SP1 This Year

Following reports that Microsoft would deliver a beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 this week, well before the originally-stated November date, the company has taken the unusual step of issuing a statement to quell any expectation, saying no changes have been made to the release timeframe.

The first news of a Vista SP1 beta arriving this week came from Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley, who cited sources that said a release would be made to a group of select testers. Although Foley never specified how widespread the beta would be, and never characterized it as a public release, the news quickly circled the Web.

It's no surprise talk of Vista SP1 has spurred excitement; Microsoft has remained mum on the subject and many customers are awaiting the first service pack before moving to the new operating system. It may be just a group of patches, but SP1 represents the first "tried and true" version of Vista for some.

Foley's post, titled "Vista SP1 beta 1 to launch in mid-July" also stated that, "We are now in the under-promise and over-deliver era at Microsoft," referring to Microsoft's comments on Vista SP1 beta coming in November. Those comments came in a response to a complaint from Google; Microsoft promised to make changes to the way searches are handled.

With mid-July quickly passing, Microsoft decided it was time to clear the air. Although beta code may be made available this week to a very small group of testers, Vista SP1 Beta 1 is not on the way, and will not arrive anytime soon.

"There will be a Windows Vista service pack and our current expectation is that a beta will be made available sometime this year. Service packs are part of the traditional software lifecycle -- they’re something we do for all Microsoft products as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, and providing early test builds is a standard practice that helps us incorporate customer feedback and improve the overall quality of the product," Microsoft said in a statement.

Although it wouldn't explicitly said so, Microsoft's plans put a final release of Vista SP1 -- what customers are actually waiting for, not a beta -- sometime next year. And in the meantime, the company is busy telling customers they shouldn't wait at all.

"Since Windows Vista launched, we have continued working with partners to improve overall device coverage and application compatibility. There are now more than 2.1 million supported devices and more than 2,000 logoed applications for Windows Vista. We think customers will have a great experience using Windows Vista today," Microsoft added.

Foley responded in a blog post Thursday, stating that Microsoft should stop allowing misinformation to spread about its plans. "If Microsoft is going to such great lengths to keep the status and feature set of a service pack secret, what will they do when it’s finally time to start talking about Windows Seven?" she queried. "Will wiretaps be involved? Scouring employees’ phone records for calls to unapproved numbers? Logging people’s private IM sessions?"

But if you're a conspiracy theorist, you might buy into the argument that such misinformation was intentional on Microsoft's part. Before the 2002 Super Bowl, a number of reporters received multiple confirmations that Apple would run a one-time commercial advertising a new phone. In the end, the reporters held off, saying the story just didn't feel right even with sourcing.

It turns out that Apple was looking to snuff out leaks.

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