Microsoft Responds to 'Ultimate Extras' Complaints

With a rather lackluster list of the so-called "Ultimate Extras," Microsoft took the step of assuring its user base that it still remained committed to the idea on Monday.

Since Vista's launch in January 2007, only four extras have been released, including Windows Hold'Em, 16 language packs for the Windows multi-language UI, Secure Online Key Backuip, and Windows BitLocker Drive Preparation Tool - not exactly exciting additions to Vista.

Those extras were released just days after the consumer launch of the product. Since then, not a single Ultimate Extra has been released except for a beta preview of "DreamScene," leading some to believe that Microsoft was attempting to back away from its initial promise.

One of the people asking that question was Windows enthusiast Long Zheng, who wrote in a blog post June 14 about the lack of Windows Ultimate Extras.

"We apologize for taking so long to provide a status update to customers," Vista Ultimate Director Barry Goffe said. "Our goal is to provide the highest-quality, most secure and reliable offerings, and as a result we are continuing our work on these offerings."

In a blog post complete with Microsoft's apology for its silence, Goffe repeatedly stressed that delays had to do with ensuring product quality. Two extras, Windows DreamScene and the remaining 20 Language Packs, would be released by the end of the summer, he added.

Until then, don't look for any other Extras news, as Microsoft does not plan to identify them or even speak about release dates until after DreamScene and the language packs are released to the public.

"We plan to ship a collection of additional Windows Ultimate Extras over the next couple years that we are confident will delight our passionate Windows Vista Ultimate customers," Goffe said.

Not everybody is happy with Microsoft's response to user complaints over the lack of extras. "This post is nothing but cover-your-[expletive] PR doublespeak," Robert McLaws wrote for "Personally, I think the Extras team was disbanded, and only reconvened after people like Long stirred up enough of the hornets to force MS back into action."

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