Is Microsoft Fast Tracking Windows Vista SP1?
Facing an ongoing antitrust complaint from Internet search giant Google, Microsoft has reportedly reversed course and will now apparently fast track the first service pack for Vista so that it can meet its original internal shipping schedules. Previously, Microsoft had said that making the Instant Search changes required by the Google complaint would force the company to ship a beta version of Vista SP1 by late 2007. Now, apparently, the company is going to ship the beta this month and the final version by the end of the year.
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reported this morning that unnamed sources have confirmed that Microsoft will ship Vista SP1 alongside Windows Server 2008, which the company should release to manufacturing (RTM) in November 2007. This matches the original shipping schedule for Vista SP1, which Microsoft disclosed to me in a briefing last year. (Curiously, since then, the company repeatedly issued public statements disavowing any SP1 schedule.)
If these rumors turn out to be true, it appears that Microsoft is fast tracking SP1 to prevent Google's complaint from turning into a never-ending series of feature set compromises. Microsoft has already agreed to make some changes to the Instant Search feature in Vista SP1, but Google says these changes don't go far enough. Last week, Google petitioned Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who is overseeing Microsoft's consent decree compliance, for permission to provide more information about Microsoft's behavior.
In addition to the Instant Search changes Microsoft has announced, and the obvious collection of previously released bug fixes, Vista SP1 will include kernel changes related to security features at the heart of complaints by companies such as Symantec and McAfee. Microsoft told me last year that SP1 would include a major kernel update that will bring the Vista kernel up-to-date with the kernel version in Windows 2008. Foley has reported several other "likely fixes" in SP1, including file copy and shutdown performance tweaks, various BitLocker improvements, and Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) boot support for x64-based systems. I can't confirm any of those changes, however.