Microsoft Corp. has failed to deliver on its promise of downloadable extras for the highest-priced version of Windows Vista, critics claim. Dubbed "Extras" and exclusive to Vista Ultimate, the downloads were touted before, at and after the launch as one of a handful of features that separated the $399 operating system from the $239 Home Premium. On Ultimate's marketing site, Microsoft currently says of Extras: "These cutting-edge programs, innovative services, and unique publications provide a richer computing experience for Windows Vista Ultimate users."
Trouble is, according to critics like Scott Dunn, an editor with the popular "Windows Secrets" newsletter, Microsoft hasn't followed through. Since January, when Vista was released to consumers, no new finished Extra have been offered to Ultimate users. "Extras is not a minor feature of Ultimate," Dunn argued. "It's one of the things that sets it apart from Home Premium, and one of the few unique things that has been promised Ultimate users."
Microsoft issued three Extras when Vista debuted, including a poker game; an add-on to BitLocker, Vista's whole-disk encryption tool; and language packs for the operating system's Multilingual User Interface. The next month, Microsoft posted DreamScene, a video screensaver, in beta form; DreamScene has not shifted out of beta since then.