Microsoft says it will definitely release two pieces of critical software for users who upgraded their handheld computers to Pocket PC 2002, following a round of complaints from users.
In September, users of Compaq's iPaq PocketPC-based devices were given the opportunity to pre-order an upgrade from PocketPC 2000 to PocketPC 2002, and the software began arriving last week. But some software, including MSN Messenger and Terminal Services Client (TSC), did not come with the package, to the surprise of those who had bought the software.
As late as Friday, Microsoft's mobility evangelist for the Mobile Devices Division told users that Microsoft did not have a definite commitment to release Messenger and TSC for the upgrade. "No one should upgrade a Pocket PC with the assumption that Terminal Services Client or MSN Messenger will ever be available," he told users on the microsoft.public.pocketpc Internet newsgroup. Microsoft encourages its Windows CE representatives and even developers to discuss issues openly with users and beta testers in such public forums, as a way of getting closer to its customers. (PocketPC is an implementation of Windows CE.)
However, on Monday Microsoft said that not only would Messenger and TSC be released by the end of the first quarter of 2002, but that this was the plan all along. "This was always the date," said a spokeswoman. "It is a very big priority for Microsoft and Compaq to release this software."
The two applications will be available as free downloads, which users can install into the device's RAM (random access memory), the spokeswoman said.
In devices with PocketPC 2002 pre-installed, the applications are stored in ROM (read-only memory) as part of the operating system, but older iPaqs do not have enough ROM to store the full software, so some components are included on the upgrade CD as RAM-installable applications. Microsoft said it could not comment on why Messenger and TSC were not available right away, as were add-ons like Windows Media Player and Reader.
Brown also confirmed the release schedule on Monday, adding that the release "won't be suddenly because there is work to be done -- but they will be released".
Earlier, Brown admitted on the Internet forum that "there was some confusion whether we were going to do these applications or not, and if so when, so I know there have been some conflicting messages".
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