Microsoft has unveiled Windows Vista Beta 1. The operating system, which was originally codenamed Longhorn, is accompanied by the release of the first beta of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP. The beta code will be made available immediately as a download to 10,000 technical beta testers, with another half-million or so member of the Microsoft Developer Network and Microsoft TechNet getting their hands on it in due course, but without the support available to the official testers. The beta versions of Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7.0 come a week ahead of schedule.

"We're really happy with how the development cycle is going on this program of late," said Mike Sievert, the Windows corporate vice president in charge of marketing. "The teams are making their commitments. The product looks great. There's a lot of confidence here."
A second beta release of the new Vista OS will be available sometime after September of this year.