Of course, with Windows Vista, nothing really ends. After RTM, Microsoft will ship Vista to its MSDN and TechNet customers within seven days. Business customers with volume license agreements will be able to begin installing the new OS starting November 30. And sometime in late January--Microsoft still isn't saying exactly when--the company will host a gala consumer launch event for Windows Vista.
Before that happens, you can expect to hear more about the Windows Ultimate Extras that Microsoft will supply to Windows Vista Ultimate customers: Those will ship sometime in January. And no, there won't be a Windows Vista Plus! pack: Ultimate Extras is it, and only available to those who pony up for that most expensive Vista version.
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1, codenamed "Fiji") is due in late 2007 alongside Windows Longhorn Server, as is the next version of Windows Media Center, though Microsoft is still not sure how they'll ship that latter upgrade. Vista SP1, despite the name, is going to be a major upgrade: It will include a new version of the Windows kernel (version 6.1), bringing Vista up to date with the changes Microsoft is baking into the next Windows Server version.
As for Windows Vista R2 (codenamed "Vienna"), I think it's safe to say that the calm and calculating hand of Steven Sinofsky will ensure that this and other future Windows versions will arrive on schedule and be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, upgrades. Sinofsky's record with Microsoft Office is as clear as it is successful, and there's little doubt he'll have a positive effect on the Windows Division.
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