Beta 2 – so what have we learnt?

It's been just over 5 weeks since the beta 2 went public and I thought you might be interested in how that has been going. 

We had a target of a million users worldwide by RTM and we surpassed that easily in the first month.  In fact this was about three times the equivalent number for the 2003 beta 2.  More than 2.5 million people have now downloaded the beta 2 world-wide.  This is fantastic of course because it means we glean a lot more feedback about the product. 

Overall feedback has been overwhelmingly positive which matches my own experience of presenting and demoing it nearly every day to a wide range of audiences.  I am a lucky product manager to have such a terrific product to sell - although that was not entirely an accident as it was my plan to wangle my way into this job.  Through the beta we've had 13 million Customer Experience Improvement Program sessions to date, delivering a mountain of feedback about bugs, improvements and changes. 

So that's all good..

On the flip side, whilst we know people love the new capabilities of the 2007 release, the feedback is also that the performance and quality needs further improvement before we are ready to release it.  This has lead to our announcement today to delay putting it on the price lists by a few weeks.  We are still confident we can deliver the release by the end of the year and there is no change to the date of the general availability launch in January.  We realised we needed a little more time to do the work items planned. 

We know this though: we have a superb release here, people are excited about it and when its ready, it will transform the workplace.

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