Vista, IE 7 Betas Out in The Open

They've been pirated and are now available for download.
UPDATED: Well, that didn't take long.

Barely a day after Microsoft released beta versions of Windows Vista and IE 7 to a select group of developers and testers, both applications have been pirated and are now available on P2P networks.

On July 27, Microsoft released the Windows Vista beta, which included the IE 7 beta. The company also issued a standalone version of IE 7 for Windows XP.

The betas were supposed to have been issued only to Windows Vista Technical Beta Program, MSDN developer program and Microsoft TechNet users, which potentially add up to more than 10,000 potential users. But they had already appeared on BitTorrent P2P file-sharing networks by July 28.

''While we understand that the industry is excited about the release of the first Windows Vista Beta, we do not recommend downloading the code on a production machine unless you are a participant in one of the above Microsoft programs, as it is designed for a very specific technical audience,'' said a Microsoft spokesperson. ''Most consumers should wait until delivery of the final product before using Windows Vista.''

The spokesperson added that Microsoft will expand opportunities for consumers, businesses and partners to be involved in the beta program once beta 2 is released.

Being part of Microsoft's various beta programs sometimes carries a price, as well. Subscriptions for Microsoft's MSDN developer program range from $199 to $2,799. Pricing for Microsoft's TechNet Plus program ranges from $559 to $1,269.

In a blog posting on the day the betas hit, IE team manager Dean Hachamovitch wrote that the beta should be interesting to developers and IT professionals.

''For this reason, the beta is available to MSDN subscribers and a pretty small set of pre-enrolled beta test participant,'' Hachamovitch wrote.

''Our goal is to get feedback from this group, do a bunch more work around quality (performance, security, reliability, etc.) and some features (e.g. additional standards support beyond what's in beta 1, additional functionality around tabs and RSS, etc.), and release Beta 2 much more broadly.''

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