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In the News

  1. Vista December CTP Due Next Week
  2. Microsoft Reorganizes Consumer Effort to Take On Apple

==== In the News ====

    by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Vista December CTP Due Next Week

Sources at Microsoft told me that the eagerly awaited Community Technology Preview (CTP) build of Windows Vista will be delivered to beta testers on Monday. According to my sources, the CTP is build 5270 (5270.x86fre.winmain_idx03.051212-1830).

In various meetings with the Windows Vista team last week, I was told that the December CTP would be build 5276 "give or take one build." The Vista team demonstrated builds 5270 and 5276 at that time.

Microsoft recently altered its delivery schedule for Windows Vista to focus more on CTP builds, which might be released as often as once every month, but probably less often on major beta milestones. The company had originally planned to ship a public preview version of Windows Vista Beta 2 by the end of 2005, but that preview will likely be based on a future CTP build and will arrive in the first half of 2006.

Earlier this month, Microsoft promised two Vista deliverables for December. The first, the December CTP, is a dramatic improvement over previous CTPs and includes many new features. In late December, Microsoft will test a feature-complete build of Windows Vista internally. That build will form the basis for the next CTP, due in January or February 2006. After that, the company will focus solely on bug fixes and fit-and-finish concerns, and won't add any major new features to the product.

Microsoft Reorganizes Consumer Efforts to Take On Apple

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Microsoft has reorganized its consumer businesses to better compete with Apple, Sony, and other digital entertainment companies. The changes place key Xbox executives at the company in charge of Microsoft's wider consumer efforts, elevating that product team to a unique leadership role within the software giant.

According to the WSJ report, Robbie Bach, currently president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, will now be responsible for the MSN Music business and the company's relationships with music labels, movie studios, cable channels, and broadcasters. "My role is evolving to focus more on longer-term strategy, partner relationships, and business management within \[Entertainment and Devices\] and across the company," Bach wrote in an internal memo cited by the report. "The market is rife with new opportunities. Yet we face a strong group of competitors."

As part of the reorganization, the Entertainment and Devices Division will consist of four business groups, including two new businesses: Entertainment Business (responsible for the company's music, TV and video efforts) and the Interactive Entertainment Business (responsible for controlling the company's Xbox and PC video game businesses). The other two businesses, for mobile devices and consumer software, already exist and will remain unchanged.

Executives previously responsible for Xbox are distributed throughout the new consumer organization. Bryan Lee, a vice president and previously the finance chief of the Xbox division, will manage the new Entertainment Business. Peter Moore, a Microsoft vice president previously responsible for Xbox marketing, will oversee the new Interactive Entertainment Business. And Microsoft vice president J. Allard, previously responsible for the Xbox 360 developer tools, has been promoted to a position in which he will coordinate strategy across the four new consumer business groups.

==== Events and Resources ====

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