Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Yes, About That Windows Early Feedback List

Lots of people are talking about a list that leaked over the weekend about beta tester feature requests for future version of Windows. Some people have attributed this list to a bunch of different things, so let me take a minute and clear the air.

The list is from a Microsoft Connect program called the Windows Early Feedback program. It is set up for existing Windows Beta Testers to make feature requests for consideration in future versions of Windows (and not necessarily just "Seven"). While reports are correct that Microsoft is "not obligated to include them in future releases," that does not under any circumstances mean that the list is not watched or items are not considered. All it means is that the Windows Beta team cannot promise that the features will be included anywhere (especially since some, like backing up Xbox 360 games to a PC, don't have a prayer of ever happening), but I have it on good authority that the list does get seen by the various Windows teams.

So when an anonymous Microsoft source says the list "bear(s) no relationship to the actual feature set Microsoft is currently writing for Windows 7," I think what they means was something more along the lines of "you should not consider this to be a list of features in Windows 7. The WEF list is simply a customer guideline, and is not representative of the state of our internal planning documents." I don't think it should be interpreted as though the team doesn't care what customers think or that the list won't be considered by the various decision makers.

Windows Vista was the most customer-driven Windows release ever. It's is pretty safe to say that the Windows Division is more in-tune with their customers than ever before. The fact that they even asked for feedback this early in the planning stages is a HUGE step forward for Microsoft. In previous betas, they did their planning based on their own priorities, and didn't care much what the customers thought. At least now they're listening, and they shouldn't be knocked for it.