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Windows Vista RC1 Enters Testing

Software giant Microsoft announced today that Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 has entered testing with the companies customers, developers, and partners, and is expanding their Vista Preview program so more customers can get their hands on early editions of Windows Vista and get acclimatized to its new features and requirements. At same time, Microsoft finally caught up with Amazon.com and confirmed estimated U.S. retail pricing for the various editions of Windows Vista.

Microsoft initially released Vista RC1 to selected technical partners on September 1, and plans to release the system to current Windows Vista Customer Preview Program (CPP) participants this week. However, Microsoft will also re-open the doors to the CPP, enabling businesses and customers who are not members of Microsoft’s other technical seeding programs (as well as Windows enthusiasts) to get their hands on early version of Windows Vista and check out its features and capabilities. Vista RC1 will be available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers for download, and various publishers around the world will be making RC1 DVDs available via a variety of technical publications. Overall, Microsoft expects more than 5 million users will field test Windows Vista RC1.

“Now that we’re expanding the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program, an even broader audience will get to experience just how much Windows Vista has to offer,” said Mike Sievert, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Windows Client Marketing, in a statement. “The expansion of the CPP program really sends a strong message to the industry and our customers: the time to prepare for Windows Vista has arrived.”

Microsoft also officially released suggested U.S. retail pricing information on Windows Vista, after Internet retailer Amazon.com put various editions up for pre-order on its Web site. The breakdown is as follows, and contains no surprises:

Vista Edition Upgrade Pricing Full Retail Pricing
Vista Home Basic $99.95 $199
Vista Home Premium $159 $239
Vista Business $199 $299
Vista Enterprise (available only to volume license customers)
Vista Ultimate $259 $399