VistaBandaidNews is buzzing that Windows Fiji really isn’t a codename for Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). Instead, it is the codename for what will become a version of Windows that to be released between Vista and Windows Seven (currently slated for release in 2009).

Mary Jo Foley dug this news up on a Microsoft employee’s site, who had said:

Diamond is the version of Windows Media Center which ships with Windows Vista, and is the only version of Windows Media Center (to date) which was synced with a major version of Windows. All prior releases were ‘Windows Out Of Band Release’ projects — meaning they weren’t necessarily tied to a particular shipping date of Windows (or a Windows service pack). Our next version is yet another out of band release and (generally speaking) the team is pretty happy about that because it allows us to get back on our (approximate) yearly schedule of delivering goodness to customers (it was a major feat of engineering load balancing for us to be simultaneously working on ‘Emerald’ and ‘Diamond’ at the same time…

The Microsoft employee, Charlie Owens, has since removed the post from his site and commented saying that it shouldn’t have been posted. The excerpt taken from the removed post does not specifically reference Fiji, but Mary Jo said that Fiji was what it was tagged.

Emerald was the codename for Windows Media Center 2005 and was released prior to Windows Vista. Similarly, Windows Fiji will be the codename for the next Media Center release which is expected to be released sometime after Vista SP1 and before Windows Seven (so late 2007 or sometime in 2008).

If this does end up being a completely separate release I hope Microsoft plays their cards wisely. People who splurged $400 on the Windows Vista Ultimate Edition may not be too happy if they find out that the version of Media Center included will be out-of-date within a year.

In my opinion Microsoft should not be working on separate releases of Media Center now that they have it integrated with both Vista Ultimate and Home Premium. Any interim updates should be made available to consumers free of charge, and maybe just part of a service pack. I have a strong feeling that Microsoft will follow this route of offering the update at no cost, but they will probably use the “updated version” as a marketing scheme so that they can say that it is newly improved.

Now it is time for Microsoft to step up and let us know what’s going on with Windows Fiji. This is even more of a reason for people to hold off on purchasing Vista who have not already done so and most consumers, like myself, prefer to make informed decisions before purchasing high-cost items like Windows.