If you thought it was tough before to get Microsoft to talk about "Fiji," the next version of Windows Media Center Edition, now it's going to be next-to-impossible to get anyone in Redmond to utter the "F" word.
According to a story in The Fiji Times Online, the Attorney General of Fiji, Aiyaz Sayed-Kaiyum , was worried Microsoft was going to name the next version of Windows "Fiji." He was concerned enough to write Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. From the story:
"In his letter (to Gates), Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the interim Government asserted its absolute ownership over the use of word 'Fiji' and reserved all its rights under relevant laws to protect and defend the use of the word.
"'This letter, therefore serves to put Microsoft on notice that the Government unreservedly objects to the use of the word Fiji in connection with Microsoft Corporation's operating system or any of its products,' the Attorney-General said in his letter."
Fairfax Media, which is said to be the original source of this story, quoted a Windows Client Business Group manager Ben Green acknowledging that Fiji was simply the codename for Microsoft's "Windows Media Centre TV software package." Green said:
"(It) is not intended to be used in an external marketing context. The product is designed to add new television standards support, enhance the user interface and set up experience, and add interactive TV features to Windows Media Centre."
(Hey, that's more than I've managed to get Microsoft to say about Fiji!)
After months of talking about Fiji to select testers, Microsoft quietly began rolling out test versions of Fiji a couple of months ago. Microsoft officials won't talk about Fiji's feature set or its planned ship date. Last anyone to whom I talked had heard, Fiji was slated to ship in late 2008.
Ars Technica recently ran screen shots they identified as Fiji test build shots. Again, no one at Microsoft would confirm or deny the veracity of the shots. (One tester with whom I chatted suggested they are real.)
Update: I've asked Microsoft PR here in the U.S. whether this "you can't make this stuff up" tale is correct. I'm not holding my breath that I'll hear back, given how reticent Microsoft is to talk about Fiji, but if I do get word, I'll provide the company's statement here.)
Update 2: As expected, here is the Microsoft statement on the latest having to do with Fiji. Via a company spokesman:
"'Microsoft has many ongoing betas, however at this point we do not have any announcements to make related to any future version of Windows Media Center."