Industry Testing of Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 Begins

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 5, 2006 — Following the release Friday of Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Release Candidate 1 (RC1), Microsoft Corp. announced plans to make RC1 available for broad customer and partner testing. With this milestone, Microsoft is also communicating the U.S. estimated retail pricing* for all Windows Vista editions. The announcements signal a major step for the technology industry toward the final availability of Windows Vista, currently targeted for volume license customers in November 2006 and general availability in January 2007.

Microsoft first made Windows Vista RC1 available to a small group of technical customers on Friday, Sept. 1, and plans to broadly release the code to current Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP) participants this week. In addition, Microsoft will reopen the CPP, a popular pre-release testing program, to new enrollments in coming days. In total, Microsoft plans to make Windows Vista RC1 available to more than 5 million customers worldwide.

“Now that we’re expanding the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program, an even broader audience will get to experience just how much Windows Vista has to offer,” said Mike Sievert, corporate vice president for Windows Client Marketing at Microsoft. “The expansion of the CPP program really sends a strong message to the industry and our customers: the time to prepare for Windows Vista has arrived.”

In conjunction with Release Candidate 1, Microsoft today announced U.S. estimated retail pricing* for all editions of Windows Vista for both business and consumer users. Prices for the editions remain unchanged compared with the equivalent Windows® XP editions, with the prices of some editions constant since Windows 95.

Microsoft Announces Estimated Retail Pricing for All Windows Vista Editions

With Windows XP, customers often had to make tradeoffs in features and functionality as the Windows XP editions were aligned with specific hardware types. With Windows Vista, customers now have the ability to make choices between editions based on the valuable features they desire, which are now available as standard features of mainstream editions. For example, 64-bit support and Tablet PC and touch technology are standard features of the Home Premium and Business editions.

Pricing information for all Windows Vista editions is available online, along with additional information on the various editions of Windows Vista.

Microsoft to Broaden CPP Program for Windows Vista RC1

Microsoft is broadening the scope of the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program, which began last quarter with the release of Windows Vista Beta 2. The CPP enables developers and IT professionals who do not have access to Windows Vista RC1 through other channels to obtain the code and begin testing. Also as part of the CPP, technology enthusiasts are able to obtain pre-release code and begin testing the various consumer scenarios Windows Vista enables. Current CPP participants are scheduled to have access to the RC1 code beginning this week, and Microsoft will be opening the CPP program to new participants in the following days. Microsoft will post RC1 to its MSDN® and TechNet Web sites for subscriber download, and is working with publishers in various markets around the world to distribute RC1 DVDs to readers of a number of technology publications. In total, Microsoft estimates that 5 million users around the world will have access to Windows Vista RC1 across all distribution channels.

Partners Called On to Test Windows Vista RC1

With Windows Vista RC1, Microsoft has made improvements to the overall product stability and reliability, and has enhanced performance and the overall customer experience. Microsoft is strongly encouraging partners to test and certify applications on Windows Vista RC1 in preparation for final product availability. In addition, Microsoft is delivering tools to enable partners to earn and display the “Certified for Windows Vista” Software Quality Logo. The “Certified for Windows Vista” logo ensures the highest-quality Windows Vista experience for customers and enables Microsoft partners to take advantage of program benefits designed to help promote and market their applications and devices. Microsoft also continues to encourage the software industry to test current-generation (Windows XP) applications to earn and display the “Works with Windows Vista” logo. Partners can access these tools by visiting the Innovate on Windows Vista Web site.

Many partners have already signed up with the programs; participants include industry-leading software companies and innovative PC and device and component manufacturers.

Partner Support for Windows Vista Release Candidate 1

Partners are enthusiastic about Windows Vista Release Candidate 1.

“The launch of Microsoft Windows Vista comes at a time when demand for new business processes and initiatives is requiring that customers increasingly rely on and leverage their valuable mainframe assets,” said Randy Robinson, senior vice president of products and marketing at Attachmate. “Attachmate is committed to delivering products that allow customers to take full advantage of the expanded functionality in Windows Vista to streamline emulation projects and increase business productivity.”

“Autodesk has worked closely with Microsoft through the development of Windows Vista,” said Ashok Gadangi, AutoCAD chief software architect at Autodesk. “Our internal tests give us confidence that Windows Vista will offer a highly stable and feature-complete platform that will bring our customers’ 2-D and 3-D designs to life. Receiving RC1 is another important milestone on the way to making this happen, and we look forward to testing it.”

“BMC Software is readying BMC’s Closed Loop Client management solutions, including the BMC® Configuration Manager for Clients, for the upcoming migration to Windows Vista,” said Dan Hoffmann, director of business development at BMC. “BMC’s Closed Loop Client Management solutions are designed to automate all aspects of client management including deployment, software license compliance, and user provisioning. Further, our customers expect BMC’s solutions to be ready for Windows Vista and to provide functionality to help them with migration issues. We have worked continuously with Microsoft during the Windows Vista beta program so our customers can quickly and easily take advantage of Windows Vista’s smoother and more rapid deployment and enhanced security.”

“Our close work with Microsoft has helped assure us that D-Link’s home networking products, including wireless routers, IP cameras and multimedia products, will be Windows Vista-ready and certified,” said Brian Larsen, associate vice president of product development at D-Link. “We are particularly excited for the release of RC1 of Windows Vista, as it’s one step closer to the launch of the operating system and our Windows Vista-ready networking products that will make it easier for customers to realize the full potential of their home networks.”

“Logitech is testing Windows Vista RC1 now and has found that the robustness, speed and stability of the build can help us achieve our goal of delivering products that enhance the experience of using Windows Vista,” said Dale Pistilli, product director responsible for Windows Vista at Logitech. “We have designed a portfolio of keyboards, mice, game controllers, headsets and webcams that make it easy to access special Windows Vista features. These products are also designed to complement the visual appeal of Microsoft’s next-generation PC environment.”

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