Microsoft Longhorn Beta 1 to be released Summer 2005

Microsoft Watch from Mary Jo Foley reports Microsoft Reconfirms Longhorn Targets. “Beta 1 of Longhorn is still on track for this summer, Sanjay Parthasarathy reiterated that Longhorn Beta 1, which will not include the new user interface bits, is due this summer. Beta 2, which will showcase the new interface, is due out some time in the first part of 2006. The final Longhorn client release is still, as of now, due out in the latter half of 2006.”

Isn’t that curious. Microsoft has previously used “Beta” like much of the rest of the software industry for a feature-complete product with testing required but all major features in place. In particular, Microsoft’s “Marketing Betas” to the public were primarily used by the MS Marketing teams to determine how to pitch the product and how to respond the the FAQs. This beta is more likely what most would consider an alpha, with features yet to be completed, making evaluation of the product more difficult. This comes across to me as primarily a PR effort to show that Microsoft is still in the game. With the dropping/delay of major features (WinFS), release of others separate from the Longhorn OS (Avalon and Monad) and the addition of others (RSS), Longhorn still feels like too much of a moving target and not a product with a fixed feature list. It will be interesting to read how the industry press reviews this “beta.”

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