In this issue:
Microsoft Overpromised and Undelivered on Vista's Ultimate Extras
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
Maybe you've heard something about the 'Ultimate Extra's' that Microsoft said it would be offering to any who opted to buy the most expensive Vista version: Ultimate.
If you click "Learn about Windows Ultimate Extras" on the Windows Update screen in Vista, you are told that:
With Windows Ultimate Extras you get:
- Cutting-edge programs - Enjoy Microsoft programs that are available only through Windows Ultimate Extras. Windows Update notifies you when new downloads become available.
- Innovative services - Benefit from unique services that can help tailor your computing experience to your digital lifestyle. These services are designed to help make your experience more powerful, productive, and personal.
- Unique publications - Download premium content that focuses on your digital lifestyle. Discover techniques and strategies that help you get the most out of Vista Ultimate.
That sounds like you're going to get some benefits from the extra $$ you pay for Vista Ultimate. Remember, Vista Ultimate costs around $105 more than Vista Home Premium. Granted, there are a few other features besides Ultimate Extras that you get for that money:
- BitLocker Full Drive Encryption
- Encrypting File System (EFS)
- System image backup and recovery
- Windows ShadowCopy
- IIS Web Server
- Offline files and folder support
- Windows Fax and Scan
But most of these will not appeal to most users, and an important reason why users choose Vista Ultimate was the promise of the "Extras".
After Windows Vista was first launched to consumers early this year, Microsoft made the following Extras available:
- Windows Hold'Em (poker game)
- 16 MUI Language Packs
- Bitlocker Drive preparation tool
- Secure online key backup (for your ESF key)
At the end of the summer, Microsoft shipped Windows DreamScene (full motion video replacement for Windows desktop wallpaper). Last October Microsoft released another 19 language packs.
So there you have it... I mean: calling Language Packs & a Poker game "Cutting Edge programs", or the secure online key backup "Innovative services" is just ridiculous. By now we (Windows Vista Ultimate buyers) just fell conned into paying more for some marketing vaporware!
With Service Pack 1 in testing, Microsoft decided it would probably be a good idea to remove the exuberant marketing message displayed on Vista's Windows Update. When you click "Learn about Windows Ultimate Extras" on the Windows Update screen in Vista you receive the following information (Figure):
What are Windows Ultimate Extras?
Windows Ultimate Extras are designed for Windows Vista Ultimate customers to extend Windows features or just make using your computer more fun.
Microsoft Director Barry Goffe felt the need to defend the change in this way: "... people have noticed that the screen which welcomes customers to Windows Ultimate Extras has changed. Our intent in making this change was simply to broaden the definition in anticipation of a broader range of Ultimate Extras being available in the future-that do not necessarily map to the original, narrow definition".
"While I can understand how community sites and bloggers may have read the new definition and assumed that Microsoft is not shipping any more Extras, in reality the opposite is true. In addition to the remaining Language Packs, we plan to ship a collection of additional Windows Ultimate Extras that we are confident will delight our passionate Windows Vista Ultimate customers. We will shed more light on these plans once the Language Packs are finally dislodged from our delivery pipeline!"
Another nice statement from Barry can be found on the Windows Vista Ultimate blog site. When announcing the final language packs last October he also wrote: "While today's delivery marks the final installment of the Extras announced earlier this year, these are by no means the final set of Extras that we intend to deliver. As I mentioned in my post last month, beyond the Extras shipped to date, we plan to ship a collection of additional Windows Ultimate Extras that we are confident will delight our passionate Windows Vista Ultimate customers".
"Given our track record, it would be unwise to provide details of what comes next until I am 100% confident in our ability to deliver. Please rest assured, though, that our team is working on hard to deliver on our promise to Ultimate customers."
Yes, given the track record I would reckon we won't hear much... if anything at all. Quite disappointing. The beta group that exists for Ultimate Extras hasn't heard anything from the "Ultimate Team" at Microsoft since early this year, so it doesn't look there will be any new ultimate extras coming any time soon. Quite frankly the whole thing just stinks!
Oh, there have been two Wallpapers released, which can be found on the WindowsUltimate.com Web site, they haven't been offered through Windows Update.