In what can only be described as a u-turn, Microsoft today announced on the Windows team blog that technical beta testers WILL get a copy of Windows 7 after all, putting the original announcement that they wouldn’t down to a silly mistake.
I wrote last week about my experience as a technical tester in which I criticised Microsoft for leaving testers feeling undervalued and, essentially, used. I also took this up with Microsoft and got a very nice email in reply, that annoyingly I can’t disclose, from someone I can only describe as very senior. In that email I was told that Microsoft accepted that they could have done things differently and that, with the benefit of hindsight, they will try and see if mistakes were made (I’m deliberately watering this down for legal reasons). The individual told me they would post to the Windows blog when they had a formal announcement to make on the future of technical testing with Microsoft.
The announcement today said…
Last week, I blogged that members of the Windows Technical Beta Program would not be receiving a complimentary copy of Windows 7. Normally I hate to be wrong but in this case, I’m stoked that I am.
To show our appreciation, members of the invitation-only Windows 7 Technical Beta Program will be eligible for a free, final copy of Windows 7 Ultimate
With Windows Vista the only testers to receive a free copy were those who had submitted at least one bug report. That, as I understand it amounted to about 5,000 testers which is also the amount of testers who have been on the Windows 7 beta programme. These two could be linked or they might not.
As a technical tester I feel this does count as a thank you from Microsoft and I applaud their generosity. Technical testers have given many hours of time and effort into helping make Windows 7 the solid product it is, and were feeding back huge amounts of information to Microsoft. The traffic on the connect beta site was, I can assure you, quite substantial.
The newsgroup post mentioned in the article is only available to technical testers… however
Thank you for doing your part in making Windows 7 great! As a member of the technical beta program you took the time to download, install and give us your feedback on Windows 7 during development. Over the last 7 months you have participated in chats, live meetings and newsgroups as well as reported bugs to help us find and fix many issues. To recognize your outstanding contribution to the product we are pleased to offer you a complimentary copy of Windows 7 for your personal use.
· All current members of our English technical and international mini-beta programs are eligible.
· We are offering you a full (non-upgrade) copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition for your own personal use, not to be resold.
· You will be able to get access to your copy one of two ways:
A) To get up and running quickly you will be able to download your copy and get your product key via Microsoft Connect. English downloads will be available August 6th and other languages will follow as they become available.
B) Members of our English beta program have an alternative. We have reserved a limited amount of boxed retail copies that you can choose to receive instead. These are ‘first come, first served’. If you opt to have us ship you the boxed copy you should be aware that it will take much longer until you will be up and running on the final version. We will need time to manufacture and ship the copies to you. This means that you may not receive them until they are available on shelves October 22nd or later. Also, for people outside the United States you may be required to pay duties or other local taxes upon receipt.
Instructions and forms for choosing one of the above options will be available on Microsoft Connect on Monday August 3rd.
On behalf of the entire Windows product team, THANK YOU!