Microsoft has launched Beta 2 of its Windows Vista operating system and its Office 2007 application suite. It has also released Beta 1 of its “Longhorn” Windows Server platform.
Analyst Gartner has encouraged enterprise users to make full use of the latest Office and Vista betas to ensure they are ready when the products are made available to large companies from this October and November respectively.
Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 is also expected to follow Beta 2 in the early part of the summer.
Windows Vista Beta 2 has a more developed user interface than Beta 1, and is designed to make it easier for IT administrators to deploy security updates, among other improvements.
Users can order DVDs or download the code of the Beta 2 systems at www.microsoft.com/windowsvista and www.microsoft.com/office/preview.
Microsoft estimates that around two million people will try Windows Vista beta 2 after it becomes widely available.
Gartner said the quality of the betas will indicate whether Microsoft will achieve its target shipping dates for the final products.
Gartner warned, however, that application compatibility cannot be assured with Beta 2 or even with the release candidates that will follow.
Applications that do not work today may work when the products are finally released (and vice versa). More testing will be required when the products are released, said Gartner.
Knowing which applications do not work in Beta 2 will allow firms to consult internal developers, independent software vendors and Microsoft, to ensure problems are resolved in the final release, Gartner said.