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Microsoft rejects Visual Studio delay request

Developers petition for Visual Studio beta 3 and product delay to fix bugs. Microsoft says "no" and adds another significant feature.

Microsoft has rejected a request from developers to push back delivery of its oft-delayed Visual Studio 2005 in order to fix bugs.

In addition, the software giant said it will include a significant new feature that will be introduced in an interim release of Visual Studio 2005 in the next week.

Through a feedback form on the Microsoft Developer Network Web site, developer customers asked Microsoft to release a third beta of Visual Studio 2005, which is due for completion on Nov. 7.

In the original suggestion, a customer said that Visual Studio 2005, which had a second beta program in April, has too many bugs and performance problems. "I'd rather have a good product six months from now than a mediocre one in three months," wrote Clint Stotesbery on Thursday.

The majority of developers who wrote into the suggestion forum agreed, saying that the quality of the product was more important than meeting the Nov. 7 deadline. Visual Studio 2005, formerly code-named Whidbey, will arrive at least one year later than originally planned.

Representatives from Microsoft's Visual Studio development group decided to pass on the suggestion. A few hours later, it posted a note saying, "We are confident that we will be able to ship you a high-quality product later this year."

A company representative confirmed Monday that Microsoft is on track for a Nov. 7 delivery date.

In fact, Microsoft intends to add a feature to Visual Studio 2005, which even company executives admit will be a challenge to add without changing the delivery date.

S. "Soma" Somasegar, vice president of Microsoft's developer division, on Thursday detailed the company's plans to add a feature that will affect the Common Language Runtime--the software "guts" that underpin Visual Studio. In his blog, Somasegar said Microsoft has decided to change how the Common Language Runtime handles so-called nullable types.

Somasegar said that the change was made in response to customer feedback. He said Microsoft introduced the feature in the August Community Technology Preview of Visual Studio, which is an update not as significant as a full beta.

The release of Visual Studio 2005 is an important product for Microsoft's server and tools division.

The development tool will be shipped in tandem with the company's database SQL Server 2005. Both products have added high-end features meant to bolster Microsoft's sales for large-scale business applications.

At the same time, Microsoft will introduce new low-end editions designed to fend off inexpensive, open-source alternatives.