Microsoft has traditionally shared early product design work with the industry in order to elicit feedback, but has been criticized for removing features later on, particularly with Windows Vista. But a new Windows 7 blog that appeared this week aims to avoid confusion and set the right expectations for partners and customers.
Windows 7 is slated for launch in late 2009, and Microsoft has said little about the operating system except that it will include applications that use multi-touch technology. On Thursday, Steven Sinofsky and Jon DeVaan, senior engineering managers for Windows 7, unveiled the new Engineering Windows 7 (E7) blog and said Microsoft has learned from its earlier mistakes.
"We, as a team, definitely learned some lessons about 'disclosure' and how we can all too easily get ahead of ourselves in talking about features before our understanding of them is solid. Our intent with Windows 7 and the pre-release communication is to make sure that we have a reasonable degree of confidence in what we talk about when we do talk," Sinofsky and DeVaan wrote in the blog post.
"Related to disclosure is the idea of how we make sure not to set expectations around the release that end up disappointing you -- features that don't make it, claims that don't stick, or support we don't provide," they wrote.
The comments are similar to ones made in May by Chris Flores, a director with the Windows Client communications team, who acknowledged that with past versions of Windows, Microsoft has shared information at an early stage that changed later on, and that these changes have had a pronounced effect on users.
"With Windows 7, we're trying to more carefully plan how we share information with our customers and partners. This means sharing the right level of information at the right time depending on the needs of the audience," Flores wrote in a post on the Windows Vista team blog.
Partners hungry for information about Windows won't have much longer to wait, however. According to Sinofsky and DeVaan, Microsoft will provide in-depth technical information on Windows 7 at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) and the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), both which will be held in Los Angeles this Fall.