I'm referring to Microsoft and their decision to announce, but not release, Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).
Honestly, I can't understand the reasoning behind this decision. As many have noted on blog posts and comments, it is entirely reasonable and responsible to not release Vista SP1 automatically via Windows Update. But from what I understand, the purpose of MSDN, TechNet, Connect, and various partner channels is to identify a subset of Microsoft's partners and customers and allow them to prepare for the broad release of key software packages, such as operating system service packs. Even today we see Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, Enterprise, and Standard editions available on MSDN - even though these have not officially launched. Why not Vista SP1?
Now, I can appreciate that there is some trepidation around certain device drivers not being functional with the release of Vista SP1, but it appears that it affects only a small population of users. I don't see this as justification for preventing a much larger population of IT professionals and software vendors for gaining access to such a critical release.
If Microsoft offers a more compelling, reasonable explanation behind this decision, I'm all for supporting it. But until that happens or I see Vista SP1 on one of the various official download channels in the next 10 days or so, all I can say is this:
Bad call Microsoft, bad call!