A few days ago, I blogged about a Neowin article that published a "secret” time table for the release of Windows XP SP3. I was a bit skeptical because I learned from the past that such information is usually not very reliable. On Monday, many news sites reported that XP SP3 indeed RTMed. I was quite surprised to read that volume licensing customers have access to the pack, but Technet and MSDN subscribers don't. So I logged on to Microsoft’s volume licensing site to see if SP3 is really there.
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Well, it wasn’t. Then I read that Microsoft’s release date acrobats changed their mind again and published XP SP3 for Technet and MSDN customers. So I logged on with our MSDN account. Guess what? No Windows XP SP3 far and wide. And now I read in this Computerworld article that it will only be available in June for volume licensing customers. So what now? Please, let me know if you were able to spot SP3 on MSDN or Technet.
It is not that I can’t wait to get my hands on this service pack. I already said before that Windows XP SP3 is a real yawner. XP is a dying operating system, so nobody expected revolutionary new features. What I find disturbing is this sloppy, unprofessional attitude. Sorry, if I am repeating myself here. But I am not the only one. Take this Computerworld article where a Microsoft customer is cited:
"Well, that's just damned ridiculous," said "Jacobyte666," who identified himself as a "disgruntled Volume License and TechNet Beta Plus subscriber."
"I really think [Microsoft] have 'jumped the shark' in the last year or so what with the Vista SP1 debacle and now this," Jacobyte666 went on to say. "I work at a large education site and we're seeing increasing numbers of Macs being used by IT support staff, teaching staff and students ... is it any wonder?"
I just read that Apple sold 2.1 million Macs in the second quarter of 2008, 51% more than last year’s quarter. I do not think that Mac OS X is a better choice. From a technical point of view there is no real alternative to the Windows platform. There is no doubt about that. But it is quite obvious to me that Microsoft has a serious marketing problem. It is this unprofessional behavior which fosters the negative perception of Windows in general.
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So my humble advice for Microsoft would be: Publish your release date time table as early as possible as a proper press release instead of giving non-committal information on a Technet forum. The media wouldn’t be forced to speculate about release dates and could just report about the technical advantages of the Microsoft platform.