In the new Windows regime, all references to Windows futures seem to be verboten.
After I linked to Windows Media Center Product Manager Charlie Owen's post about Microsoft's release plans for the next version of Media Center (code-named "Fiji,"), Owen pulled his post and deleted from his blog all references to "Fiji."
Owen posted this "mea culpa" on March 21:
"I made a pretty bad mistake the other day with a mailbag post while trying to reach out to the Windows Media Center online community of grass root supporters -- those early adopters who constantly (and rightfully) push us to deliver more value. I took some information which was already public knowledge and connected dots which -- honestly -- weren't there to connect. It was a mistake on my part to infer any sort of timeframe schedule going forward. Doing so set the wrong expectations for my readers and opened up a can of speculation and question worms which were way off base. Above all, I pride myself on being a source you can trust -- and the other day I let you down -- I’ll try not to do that again. [Note to self: Read The Corporate Weblog Manifesto again.]"
The timeline Owen "inferred" (from his pulled post, which I'm glad to have captured before Owen trashed it):
"Our next version (of Media Center) is yet another out of band release and (generally speaking) the team is pretty happy about that because it allows us to get back on our (approximate) yearly schedule of delivering goodness to customers (it was a major feat of engineering load balancing for us to be simultaneously working on 'Emerald' and 'Diamond' at the same time — a story for some other time)."
(This Owen post was tagged "Fiji," by the way.)
I've been getting some interesting tips and updates on Fiji since my post Monday. Tipsters are describing Fiji as primarily a collection of fixes and updates to the Media Center functionality that Microsoft delivered in Vista. But it also will include some new features aimed at consumers interested in extending their video/music/photo/TV experiences, they say.
How Fiji will be delivered -- given that it will arrive "out of band" before Windows Seven (which is currently slated for 2009) is not clear. One source said that Microsoft is aiming to deliver Fiji this year, but that Fiji will require some of the fixes and updates Microsoft plans to deliver as part of Vista Service Pack (SP) 1, which is expected to hit later this year (around the same time as Longhorn Server ships). So it's up in the air as to whether Fiji will be a 2007 or 2008 deliverable, the source said.
When i first heard about Fiji a year or so ago, it was described as "Vista+1." But recently, I've only been hearing about Fiji in the Media Center context. One source said the reason that Fiji is Media Center focused is that the "Diamond" release of Media Center that is part of Vista Home Premium and Ultimate left a lot of features on the cutting room floor. (It also includes a few features that are in serious need of fixing, sources added.)
I know there's a crackdown in progress on anyone inside or outside Microsoft who dares to share information on Windows futures. The Platforms & Services division management has decided that the strategy that worked with Microsoft Office -- contain all leaks and leakers at all costs -- is the way to go with Windows client.
(Microsoft also pulled from its download site on March 20 a previously public PowerPoint deck on what's next for Windows client. The AeroXPerience Web site snagged a copy first and ran a couple of slides on some general directions the team plans to take with Windows client.)
That said, anyone know if Fiji will be a more general fix/feature rollup or if it will remain specific to Media Center? If you'd rather not post a public comment, send me a private e-mail.