Microsoft Might Support Blu-ray in Vista After All

Internal Microsoft documentation states that the software giant is about to make a surprising addition to the Windows Vista code tree on February 22 about a week after the company is expected to ship a complete version of the OS to testers. On that day the company will apparently add Blu-ray DVD support to the OS, according to the documentation I’ve seen.

There's just one problem: The software giant denies it will support Blu-ray.

"There are still no plans for any development work on Blu-ray from Microsoft," a company spokesperson told me on Wednesday. Since Windows is a platform they expect companies to provide Blu-ray solutions for Windows Vista. The company pointed me to work that Cyberlink is doing with its XP based Blu-ray video editing playback and disc burning solution as an example of the type of third party products it expects to see for Vista as well.

Coincidentally, on Wednesday Microsoft publicly denied any chance that it will include native Blu-ray support in Vista. Noting that it had absolutely no plans to support Blu-ray, Microsoft said it firmly stands behind the HD-DVD format as the best choice for our consumers.

According to the internal documentation I've seen Blu-ray DVD support was initially set for inclusion in late January. Vista builds then the timing was pushed back to late February. This week Microsoft neared completion of the feature complete Vista build it will release as the February Community Technology Preview CTP build to testers. This build will include new features such as Windows Sidebar, various antimalware technologies and a Remote Desktop feature that supports Aero Glass with no performance penalty. To date, almost 60 development teams at Microsoft have submitted code for the feature complete Vista build.

Microsoft Offers Go Live Versions of Vista Technology

On Wednesday Microsoft announced that it had shipped Go Live versions of key Windows technologies to be included in Windows Vista and made available separately for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 users. The Go Live milestone indicates that the company will support third party production products and services that are based on these technologies. You can download free Go Live versions of Windows Communication Foundation WCF, formerly code named Indigo Windows Workflow Foundation WF and WinFX, from the Microsoft Web.

"Early adopters of WinFX have been asking for the ability to test WinFX server based technologies in a real world production environment," says Ari Bixhorn, the director of Web Services Strategy at Microsoft.

Today's announcement enables them to do exactly that. For customers, the Go Live releases of WCF and WF signify the green light for them to deploy applications before the final release of WinFX. These Go Live releases also help drive the feedback loop between customers and Microsoft. This helps us ensure that the product we ultimately ship meets the stability scalability and reliability needs of our customers. WinFX is a new NET based programming framework that developers will use to create Windows Vista applications. However, key parts of WinFX including WCF WF and Windows Presentation Foundation. WPF, formerly codenamed Avalon, are also being backported to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 to provide developers with a wider potential market. This week's release of Go Live versions of WCF and WF means that developers can start deploying next generation applications and services in live production environments for the first time.

Update: XP SP3 Still Set for 2007

There was a bit of confusion surrounding yesterday's WinInfo Daily UPDATE. It turns out that Microsoft briefly edited a Web page on its site that contained information about the release date of Windows XP Service Pack 3 SP3, now due in late 2007. However, late on Wednesday Microsoft reloaded the previous version which contains the late 2007 date. In other words, XP SP3 is still expected in late 2007.