"Most" Vista Express upgrades confirmed to ship in March

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) - The Vista Express upgrade, which has not been so "express," as we learned yesterday, will finally be making its way to consumers in March, supply chain management firm ModusLink told TG Daily today.

If you have been anxiously been waiting for your Vista Express Upgrade to arrive in your mail, you can expect the package to be in your mailbox soon. Christine Pothier, Marketing Communications Manager for ModusLink, the company which handles the sign-up and shipping process for the Vista Express upgrade, today said that the company will be able to keep its original promise to ship the software within four to eight weeks after launch.

As we reported yesterday, there were hiccups the Vista Express upgrade process, which left OEMs and users frustrated over the way Microsoft has set up the process.

The main problem appears to be the fact that the marketing communications surrounding the upgrade offer raised expectations, OEMs and ModusLink were not able to keep. Microsoft's marketing engine calls the program "Express." However, this term may not describe reality, depending on your view. The consumer who ordered the upgrade long before the actual launch of Vista may, understandably, be left with the impression that he will have access to the software at or close to the launch data of Vista, which was January 30.

Unfortunately, Microsoft's fast revving marketing engine forgot to mention that there will be a delay for Vista upgrades, most OEMs did not provide proper information to highlight the delay and ModusLink put the note only into the fine-print of the sign-up form. So, who's to blame for this confusion? It appears to us that no single link in this chain can be blamed. Instead, the Vista launch may have overwhelmed everyone involved - OEMs, ModusLink as well as Microsoft.

Pothier declined to discuss whether ModusLink was provided with sufficient information from Microsoft in regards to how many upgrade requests the company should expect, but she admitted that the sign-up process has not been perfect.

For example, the company apparently received at times many more upgrade requests than anticipated and the "security features" of the sign-up form had to be addressed early on. These "security features" refer to the fact that users could have locked out up of the sign-up process for up to 72 hours, if there was an interruption in Internet connectivity or if they the "back" and "forward" browser buttons were pushed during the sign-up process.

Pothier also conceded that the delivery dates of the upgrades may not have been clear enough. "We will be increasing the visibility of these dates," she said.

According to Pothier, "some" upgrades already have been shipped. However, the upgrades will begin shipping in volume in March and most orders will be addressed during that time frame, she said. The actual delivery date will depend on two factors - when the user actually ordered the upgrade and when the OEM delivered the companion CD to go along with the Vista upgrade.

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