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Vista Ultimate buyers fume over missing Extras

Microsoft fails to deliver premium add-ons by 'end of summer' deadline

September 24, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Critics who blasted Microsoft three months ago for failing to deliver Windows Vista add-ons have again called the company on the carpet, this time for missing its self-imposed deadline to provide promised extras.

In late June, bloggers and users were already panning Vista Ultimate Extras as a bust. Extras, available only to customers running the top-end Vista edition, was one of the features cited by Microsoft to distinguish the $399 operating system from its $239 cousin, Home Premium. Microsoft's online marketing, for instance, touted Extras as "cutting-edge programs, innovative services, and unique publications" that would be regularly offered to Ultimate users.

But by June, Microsoft had not released any new Extras since it issued a beta of DreamScene, a video screensaver, in February. That infuriated some users; several days later, Microsoft tried to defuse the situation by promising to wrap up DreamScene and 20 unfinished language packs.

"We apologize for taking so long to provide a status update to customers," said Barry Goffe, the director of Vista Ultimate, in a posting to a Microsoft blog on July 2. "We intend to ship Windows DreamScene and the remaining 20 Language Packs by the end of the summer."

But summer has come and gone, and users now say there has been nothing new from Extras. "Even if the Windows Ultimate team has fled to the International Date Line, summer is officially over," said Windows enthusiast Long Zheng, who blogs at iStartedSomething. Zheng was one of those who turned up the heat on Microsoft earlier in the summer with several postings about the Extras' no-show. "Normally I wouldn't care what season it is in the northern hemisphere, but today it proves this team is incapable [of] delivering anything and should never be trusted again.

"The truth is, customers are getting near to nothing [from Extras]," Zheng said Sunday.

Most users who left comments on Zheng's blog said they too felt bamboozled. "While I didn't only purchase Ultimate so that I could get the extras, it certainly was a deciding factor," said a user identified as T-Man. "The thought of getting something more was certainly appealing. Especially given the price premium for Ultimate, this is certainly a very hard pill to swallow."

A minority, however, was more forgiving about the failure to make the deadline. "Ultimate Extras are just that... extras," said Brandon Live, a Microsoft employee who works in its search group, in a comment to Zheng's blog. "While I am disappointed with how they've been handled, I never considered them to be the reason anyone would buy Ultimate."

"I'm pleased with Vista Ultimate as it is. Just relax and they will deliver on their own time, not yours," added someone identified as Lipo Network.



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