A little over a month since it released to manufacturing the final Windows Home Server (WHS) bits, Microsoft is working on an update to the code that it will push out to its OEMs and customers in about two weeks.
Microsoft's showcase WHS partner, Hewlett-Packard, has decided to wait for that update before shipping its MediaSmart Server, Microsoft officials confirmed on August 30.
Will HP's decision to wait for the code result in its WHS product going to market later than September 15, which is the date HP planned to release it to market (according to a leak on Amazon.com's site a week ago)? I asked HP, but so far no word back.
Here's the back story: As first reported by SmallNetBuilder.com (thanks to WinBeta.org for the link), Microsoft is issuing an update making WHS more "user friendly."
Microsoft released the original WHS bits to manufacturing in mid-July and has been rolling out the final code to its OEM and system builder partners over the past couple of weeks. It's hard to tell if the September update was pre-planned by Microsoft or added as an afterthought.
"As with most Microsoft products, we will offer Windows Updates to Windows Home Server throughout the lifecycle of the product. We (the WHS team) are producing one of those slated in the next few weeks, and another by end of year," said Steve VanRoekel, Director of Microsoft's Windows Home Server Solutions Group. "These updates will include enhancements to the product aimed at allowing developers writing add-ins to better utilize Windows Home Server.
"HP has decided to wait for one of these updates (and they are writing add-ins on top of Home Server)," VanRoekel confirmed.
VanRoekel said Microsoft's current plan is to make the update available "within the first two weeks of September," following its testing of the code. Any customer systems from PC makers and other WHS partners will automatically download the update once it is posted to Windows Update, VanRoekel said.
"Like other Microsoft products, we will also be slip-streaming updates into the builds from which they build their systems. This will happen over the lifespan of the product," he said.
If and when I hear back from HP about how this code update will affect its WHS plans, I will update this post.
Update: PCWorld is reporting HP will delay the introduction of the MediaSmart Server by 75 to 120 days due to the Microsoft update. (It's not clear if that is counting from the September 15 rollout date or the date HP got the initial Home Server code from Microsoft. In either case, it sounds like the new HP WHS due date is November or December.