According to a report in "Microsoft Watch," Microsoft will deliver a new interim build of Windows Vista--possibly build 5506--to beta testers sometime in the coming days. This build would arrive about two weeks before Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1), which is expected in early September.

"Microsoft Watch" reporter Mary Jo Foley says beta testers can expect some new Windows Live integration in the upcoming build, including icons in the welcome screen that will give users the option to install Vista-compatible versions of Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live OneCare, Windows Live Toolbar, and Windows Live Desktop Mail. Windows Live Messenger will also be available separately via a Start Menu installer icon. Although Foley writes that it's unclear whether this product will replace Windows Messenger from Windows XP, I can report that Windows Messenger won't be part of Vista or updated further in the future.

Unlike previous interim builds, build 5506 will reportedly not be distributed to all beta testers. Instead, it will be given to only a "pre-selected group of technical and Technology Adoption Program (TAP) testers." This will be the third interim build to ship since the Beta 2 release in May. As I reported in an exclusive earlier this week, Microsoft plans to ship Vista RC1 in early September and to complete Vista in October. The company will provide the product to volume license customers in November and to consumers in January 2007.