Vista Ultimate buyers fume over missing Extras

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

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 US$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.

A few users had fun at Microsoft's expense on the company's own support newsgroups. "Did they mention what year the end of summer release was going to be in?" asked a user identified as "theclyde" on the Vista General Discussion newsgroup.

Another user on the newsgroup, Andrew McLaren, said he was Australian, and wondered if Vista team had its hemispheres confused. "Hmmm, maybe the Ultimate Extras guys were thinking of the *Southern* summer? Maybe we'll see those updates by February 08?"

Microsoft's Goffe did give Extras an out in his July 2 post, the most recent blog update. "We will not ship the last two Extras showcased in January (Windows DreamScene and the remaining 20 Language Packs) until they meet the high quality bar required by our enthusiastic customers," he said. "We believe that we can achieve that bar by the end of this summer."

"That's a catch-all phrase," noted a user named Robert Firth on the Vista newsgroup. "Doesn't matter if it is the end of summer, they said if it isn't ready it isn't ready. So they could still be telling the truth."

That's not good enough, said some. "The only 'ultimate' thing about my copy of Vista is that it is the last copy I will buy of a Microsoft OS," said Bayleaf in a comment on Zheng's blog.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?