>>Microsoft has made it pretty clear not only to me but even to MVPs that VC++ is not a product where bugs are going to be fixed in the next release. <<
The situation here is really much better than you seem to be reading into it, so let me explain. First, an important fact: we will have fixed more bugs between VC 2005 and Orcas than any other two VC++ releases in many, many years. VS 2005 Service Pack 1 will contain much of this quality work, and Orcas will contain fixes that came later in the cycle or were too invasive for the service pack.
I also want to point out that we made a conscious process decision to spend several months of focused time doing nothing but fixing bugs (with customer-reported bugs having the highest priority, I might add). We called this our quality milestone, or MQ, and it’s been discussed on various MSDN blogs as well as Channel9. Investing in MQ in the pre-Orcas cycle enables us to devote more resources to feature work during the Orcas cycle. We could have just as easily done what we’ve always done, which is to start the Orcas cycle with no MQ and interleave bug fixing activity with ongoing feature work. Instead, we chose to organize things a little differently, and for the better I would argue, as we’ll turning around more bug fixes in the upcoming releases than we have in a long time.
Another important point I want to make is that we have made the decision to refactor/rewrite certain portions of our code base rather than simply fix bugs in these areas. Almost all of this work is long-lead, post-Orcas stuff, but it is major work and absolutely the right thing to do for the product. I can’t yet talk about the specifics of what we’re working on, but I will in the not-too-distant future, and I expect VC++ developers to be very pleased when we do have that discussion.