What's the deal with Vista Service Pack 1?

What's the deal with Vista Service Pack 1?

Summary: I thought I understood Microsoft's plan of record for Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 ... until I heard CEO Steve Ballmer's Vista business-launch keynote on November 30, that is.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Windows
26

I thought I understood Microsoft’s plan of record for Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 ... until I heard CEO Steve Ballmer’s Vista business-launch keynote on November 30, that is.

In response to a press question about SP1, Ballmer told attendees of the “New Day for Business” Vista/Office 2007 launch in New York that Microsoft has “no current schedule” for SP1, because the company is awaiting customer feedback before crafting it.

Hmm. That’s not what I’ve heard. In fact, it’s not what other Microsoft officials have said on the record. Senior Vice President of Server Tools Bob Muglia recently confirmed for eWEEK that Microsoft’s goal is to release Vista SP1 at the same time as Windows Server Longhorn, which is currently slated to ship in the latter half of 2007.

OK, so which is it? I put Brad Goldberg, general manager of Windows client, on the spot. And Goldberg backed Ballmer’s “we have no schedule” claims.

“In the past, SP1 is where we came out with tools and guidance,” so that’s why so many businesses tended to wait until SP1 before deploying Windows in the past, Goldberg said. But these days, “SP1 is not a relevant (deployment) milestone,” Goldberg told me.

With Windows, going forward, “we are trying to plan in a more predictable way,” Goldberg said. “Windows Update now gives us a vehicle to get things out that normally would have been in a service pack.”

(Why do I fear that all this “predictable planning” is going to mean less transparency and fewer publicly articulated ship-target dates under the new Steven Sinofsky Windows regime? Sigh.)

I’ve talked to more than a few business customers leading up to the Vista business launch. Many still say they are unwilling to deploy any Microsoft operating system before SP1 ships.

Understandably, Microsoft doesn’t want to talk about bugs and fixes on the day it is celebrating the arrival of its new Vista and Office products. But it seems like providing a target date -- even if subject to change -- for SP1 would give business customers some useful, timely information that might help them solidify their Vista deployment plans.

Topic: Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

26 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • MS is crafty

    If they gave a definitive date for SP1, businesses could readily plan around it. By saying there is no target date, individual businesses will now have to evaluate when Vista is "good enough" on their own. This could well be sooner than would happen with an SP1 milestone. I think MS is being crafty, much like how they have delayed XP SP3 for so long. Besides, how will they ever force WGA upon all of us if they have frequent SPs? Frequent SPs would decrease the need for "Automatic Updates" and "Windows Update", right, which are ostensibly protected by WGA.
    bmgoodman
    • Microsoft should wait

      first of all I wonder how many people will buy an OS that gives MS total control of media etc.

      Hard to support a company that treat users like they stole all their programs.

      Bill Gates made $50 Billion how if no one ever paid for MS software?

      We all steal right? This is why we have to jump through hoops after we pay $300 for software that take away our rights.
      Randall Lind
  • Superb double-speak...

    ...[i]"We're planning in a more predictable way"[/i]

    By not telling us the plans!?

    You couldn't make this up. Since when did any company enlighten their customers by making the words mean the precise opposite of their dictionary definitions?

    Oops! Silly me! I forgot about Windows Genuine [i]Advantage[/i]!!! Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa (Ooohh - I laughed so hard I nearly had a rupture!)
    bportlock
  • Interesting

    With Update becoming more cut and dried I was wondering if we wouldn't see a strech out in Service Packs. As long as they can push needed fixes out through Update and also perhaps minor enhancements, would they really need to do an SP except for major update/enhancement? Makes sense to me to wait about setting a date until you have a better feel for what needs major fixing an/or improvement, then roll any "enhancments" in with it.. But that may just be me,,,I tend to think in straight lines.
    perryroyce@...
  • Mary Jo's Rant are Getting Irritating

    This is yet another one of her meaningless articles. I'm getting to the point where her bias is so obvious that I practically don't even read anything she rights anymore. I think its totally stupid to ask a company to set a service pack date on a software that is not even released to the general public yet. This is just typical Mary Jo - isms. Who cares? Businesses want to use the SP as a crutch so they can justify to their boards why they are not using newer technology. That is a crock. We dont want for SP's on any other software before we buy and deploy it. The mainstream media makes this such a huge event and its nothing in the minds of the average user. They could care less. I think its a smart move by Microsoft. I think they should never tell us when service packs are coming. That way businesses go back to relying on good ole fashion common sense and reasoning to make their business decisions. If you wait on MS to help you make your IT decisions you will be sorely disappointed. MS's attention is on their stockholders NOT YOUR IT DEPARTMENT. So stop allowing them to control your decisions. Make a decision based upon sound research and move forward.

    "Excuses are tools for the incompetent - used to build bridges to nowhere. Those who use them become monuments of nothing!"
    andrej770
    • Partial Agreement

      I agree with most of what you say. OS's are a bit different from Apps in this regard,,but still,,after the first few months of watching the press to see what sorts and how many problems are being reported, you should be able to make a resonably informed decision about when to deploy.

      I would disagree about Mary Jo though. I like her blogs. She is obviously not biased in favor of MS. She has pretty good tech knowledge
      perryroyce@...
      • Dang,,cut myself off

        She has pretty good tech knowledge and writes rather well. On the flip side, she can be about as hyper when MS does something good. So that is about as balanced as you can expect from our modern young reporters. Joe Friday's "The facts ma'am, just the facts please" seems mostly lost on our present media.

        Also, these ZDNet blogs are for the most part closer to the old Op-Ed columns than straight up reporting. A fact that most of the posters in here don't seem to realise.
        perryroyce@...
    • I agree, Mary Jo is a wanna be

      MS basher. Every thing she writes is a negative about MS. I guess that is why she is a blogger instead of real reporter.
      No_Ax_to_Grind
      • Mary Jo is a goddess

        To pen a column called "Evil Empire" and survive means something. Mary Jo, Judge Jackson and Jannet Reno are true American Heroes. The Microsoft story remains the most important story for the IT industry and for America. It continues of course but without Mary Jo there would have been no chance whatsoever for ligitimizing Microsoft. No chance either of exposing the Gates Family Law and Legal firm's role in using Abramoff and Abramoff recomended consultants to corrupt the US federal government - No chance at all for polite society in the USA. Mary Jo and other Cnet/ZDnet reporters have done so much for the IT industry and for the USA. Ax, sometimes MS bashing is needed. Right now some HP bashing is necessary. Be happy that there are heros like Mary Jo willing to expose the wrong doing. Then, lets get on with making things better.

        Frank L. Mighetto CCP
        mighetto
      • At Least She's Something And Is Read Worldwide

        Instead of you, who is heckled and ridiculed up and down the IT community.
        itanalyst
      • I Suppose

        That makes your snide, arrogant, meaningless remarks relevant.
        Ole Man
      • Obviously You Have Not Been Literate For Very Long

        It's obvious that you only recently learned to read, so I'll keep this at your grade level. Had you learned to read with the other children, you would have read many articles over the years, by Mary Jo, that were pro-Microsoft, although most of her work is neutral. As most fanboys do, you have taken what you think is a negative article and overreacted to it. Typically, you also made no actual point about the article.
        ogmanx@...
    • "I think its a smart move by Microsoft"

      RIGHT! Just about as smart as your ranting.
      Mary Jo probably cares about as much about your opinion as I do......ZILCH.
      Why just "practically" not read her blogs?????
      Why not "factually" not read them?????
      Then you aint got nuthin to worry about, huh?
      Why don't you get a life?
      Ole Man
    • Split Your Personality?

      The second half of your post would have held much more credibility if it were not for the personal slam in the first part. If you don't like the columnist, read someone else. Mary Jo is not the only person asking about Vista SP1, primarily in my opinion, because the so-called final version is not production ready. If you disagree, or disagree about the way businesses make deployment decisions, great but the ad hominem stuff is unnecessary and lowers the impact of your opinions.
      ogmanx@...
    • SP1 should be announced...now!

      Otherwise, your "people should use common sense" theory of purchase means that they will NEVER purchase this OS. Common sense, at this juncture, says, "WTF would I want this pig in a poke!".

      Better MSFT creates an artificial buying point with SP1.
      rayted32
    • I AM an average user, and I care...

      "I think its totally stupid to ask a company to set a service pack date on a software that is not even released to the general public yet."

      Sorry you feel that way. It may not be released yet, but most of the coding for said operating system is already out there and running on thousands and thousands of machines (maybe more). It is already being rolled out on thousands of new machines being built as we type by Dell and other computer manufacturers. Therefore, the coding has been final for a little while. It is not too much to ask for them to have a general idea when they will be releasing the first service pack.

      "We don't want for SPs on any other software before we buy and deploy it."

      That's because Windows is an Operating System, and as such it affects EVERYTHING else on the system. If the core isn't stable, secure, and supported, it doesn't matter how well the rest of the system runs.

      "The mainstream media makes this such a huge event and its nothing in the minds of the average user"

      If it's nothing in the minds of the average user, then why do I constantly find myself answering questions about these same topics for friends and family AND their friends and family? As a point of reference, I live in the mountains of east TN, never went to college, make less than 25,000 a year, and find that most computer shops in this area are full of degree'd idiots. This is a very important topic to me and mine, and we definately fall under the average user category. I have spent more than enough time helping people clean viruses from their systems and fixing bugs and teaching all those I know how to protect themselves on the web. Windows 98 was supposed to be so great, but it really wasn't finished till SE. Windows XP was supposedly secure and crashproof, but does anyone remember when it crashed on live tv on CNN? It wasn't really usable till SP2! So, yeah, service packs ARE important. With Microsoft's track record, we can't afford NOT to wait.

      "That way businesses go back to relying on good ole fashion common sense and reasoning to make their business decisions. If you wait on MS to help you make your IT decisions you will be sorely disappointed. MS's attention is on their stockholders NOT YOUR IT DEPARTMENT. So stop allowing them to control your decisions. Make a decision based upon sound research and move forward."

      Really can't argue with this point. When it all boils down, Microsoft cares more about the bottom line than making sure the OS is actually worth running. As long as they can make a profit and start selling, they figure they can fix it later. You said to make a decision based on sound research. My decision is the same as hundreds of people I know...Microsoft's track record sucks for new OS's, so we will watch and wait for them to fix the gaping problems already present in Vista. Probably after SP1, if not later.
      nightbreedjtm@...
    • Yes and No....

      I have to agree that Mary Jo's articles are generally less than enlightening and only rarely worth a read.

      However, your statement that 'Businesses want to use the SP as a crutch so they can justify to their boards why they are not using newer technology.' is a bad generality worthy of Mary Jo at her worst.

      Microsoft has a well deserved reputation for continuing their 'beta testing' on real live customers well past the first 'release'. Some of what is fixed later is cosmetic, but far too often there are serious problems that should have been caught and fixed before launch which are only addressed well after the software is in the field.

      In my experience, companies large and small are wise to avoid deploying ANY new software or release (from MS or any other vendor) until it has been in the field for some period of time. That period of delay would be affected by new features of great value (shorter) or past experience (shorter or longer) or general 'buzz' (again shorter or longer) which is often a valuable tool for managing your company's exposure.

      Deploying new software involves significant resources of money and time for both IT and the users and my point is that this 'delay until SP1' is part of the general buzz that is based upon the firm ground of history.

      All of which supports your final relevant statement implying that '.... businesses go back to relying on good ole fashion common sense and reasoning to make their business decisions.
      akcoyote
    • English. Do you speak it?

      'rants', plural.
      'writes', homonym.
      'it's', wrong verb form.
      'wait', word choice.
      'it's', again, wrong verb form.
      'old-fashioned', (ole-fashioned would be an acceptable colloquialism), word choice.
      Please apply your quote on 'excuses' at the bottom to answer the question of why you are unable to communicate using proper, or failing that correct, English usage.
      heres_johnny
      • Tolerance. Do you practice it?

        Wow, did someone dip that stick in hot sauce before they put it up your sphincter? Lighten up, the guy's post wasn't unintelligible. You clearly had no problem understanding/criticizing it. This isn't a forum for proper English little man, relax. If it were, I would point out that your punctuation was incorrect in two places. Also, the phrase containing "using...usage" while technically not wrong is just shitty writing. Have a nice day! :)
        Lathby
  • Believe Muglia

    SP1 will be released when Longhorn Server is released, because they are one and the same.
    PB_z