Not only was the delay a major miscalculation, said many users, but it will have immediate -- and, in their eyes, serious -- ramifications for themselves as IT professionals, their organizations and Microsoft.
"If I cannot get a certified download or install of SP1 for testing, I will be forced to leave my machines on XP for three to six more months then I had planned," said Anthony, another commenter on the TechNet blog. "This will include the downgrade of all new machines to XP. [This is a] serious black eye not only for Microsoft, but for me as I have been the one 'selling' this."
"We have been rolling back, 'downgrading,' Windows Vista Business machines to XP Professional because of certain problems that are actually fixed with SP1," claimed MSDN Subscriber. "And then to hear that, 1) we don't get to test it before general public release and 2) that the SP has already leaked onto certain sites ... is a big slap in the face to those who pay for MSDN and TechNet."
Another subscriber chalked it up as yet more evidence that Microsoft has lost its way on Vista. "We already all have enough problems even mentioning the word 'Vista' in many companies due to the number of issues," said Mark. "Does Microsoft seriously understand the level of frustration? SP1 is critical to getting Vista back on track. Delaying it just harms the customers, continues to sour the corporate world, [and] turns your TechNet and MSDN users into frustrated users. As it stands, right now, we all think Microsoft has lost [its] mind and [is] making terrible decisions regarding Vista and the SP releases."
Kathy Dixon, the Microsoft employee who writes the posts on the TechNet Plus blog, left several comments herself, starting on Tuesday afternoon when she acknowledged user frustrations. "I'm exploring how we insure TechNet (and MSDN) subscribers get this before the general public," she said then. And while Dixon most recently piped up late Thursday, saying she is "continuing to push internally for a solution ASAP," as of mid-day Friday, she had not posted any new information.
Although many users said they would welcome a change, even now, some had clearly had enough. "As a frustrated and disappointed MSDN Premium subscriber, I can only hope that this event -- which will probably go down in the history books as the Vista SP1 RTM Debacle -- will serve as a catalyst for Microsoft upper management to take a serious look at repairing their poor relations with the development and testing community," opined someone tagged as "MSDN Premium Subscriber."
"All of us here are married to Microsoft, for better or for worse," the poster said. "However, there are times, like this, where some of us are wondering how much more abuse we can bear to take. We pay for certifications, subscriptions, upgrades, crazy licensing ... you name it ... to stay 'current' with the moving target that is Microsoft. Meanwhile, we watch our dignity and respect erode away and thrown into the gutter.
"This Vista SP1 RTM debacle, however it ultimately is resolved, has really stabbed a lot of us right in the back. The injury to our dignity may be a fatal blow. This is a wake-up call for Microsoft," the commenter concluded.
Microsoft, which Thursday said that TechNet and MSDN subscribers would have a two-week jump on the general public, did not offer a spokesman Friday to comment on the TechNet criticism.