Microsoft tells Ultimate Extras fans to 'hang on'
Microsoft has offered little satisfaction to Windows Vista Ultimate users frustrated by the dearth of goodies used to justify the operating system's premium price.
The company has committed to finally deliver on an original, limited set of four Ultimate Extras promised at the start of the year, but won't yet commit to further updates for users who splashed out more than most on their edition of Windows Vista.
Barry Goffe, Windows Vista Ultimate director, promised Microsoft has more Windows Ultimate Extras planned during the "next couple of years" but went on to say he "cannot identify dates or provide details at this time."
The "wait and see" comments are a reaction to a rising tide of criticism in the blogosphere and forums about the lack of information about Ultimate Extras features, deliverables and roadmaps.
One Windows Vista beta tester said he'd resorted to phoning Microsoft for information, as others complained of a "lack of transparency." Goffe responded: "We apologize for taking so long to provide a status update to customers."
Ultimate Extras, promised in January and March, were billed as applications, services and published content available only to Windows Vista Ultimate users.
The only four Ultimate Extras promised are for a poker game (Hold 'em), BitLocker enhancements to store passwords online at the Windows Marketplace and to prepare the BitLocker drive, a set of language packs for a multi-language interface, and Windows DreamScene that'll let users run a looping video instead of a static image in the background as their desktop.
While the list itself may seem somewhat uninspiring, so too has been pace of delivery. Thus far, we have sixteen language packs, BitLocker and Hold 'em. Goffe has promised the remaining 20 language packs and DreamScene by the end of the summer.
One Windows blogger, Long Zheng, tracking Ultimate Extras has forecast anger over lack of progress among users who shelled out for the high-end version of Windows Vista.
"Almost 180 days ago, we started with language packs, BitLocker 'enhancements', a poker game and desktop videos... If you look at it from the 'glass is half full' perspective, four extras in six months, not excellent but we're still okay. If you look at it from the 'glass is half empty' perspective, we started with four, and six months later, we're still at four, we've got a problem. It's safe to say, anyone who paid for Ultimate with their own blood and sweat is going to go with the latter perspective. And that makes a lot of angry customers."
The user that contacted Microsoft writing on joejoe.org said: "A lot of people are getting upset about these extras and are wondering what we're getting for our money... because I feel I could have stuck with [Windows] XP and came close to having all the same things these extras give me."®