With lead times like 2005, it does not mean much for a working developper. It means something when a product is tangible something that will be there within a period of up to three months anything, else may be for another project I will be working on but not for the current one and the one in the planning stages. It is simply not relevant as it would make me include migration trajects at extra cost to the current projects
Sure, O'Reilly has a role in informing the working developper. This includes learning about the alpha's betha's and what not. This is all to be ready to inform the working developper on working software.
The way Microsoft is hyping vapourware is in my opninion criminal; by getting attention for non existing products they steal attention from stuff that is here and now. This results in their current products and their competition getting less exposure than they deserve. If that means that there is no or little news from Microsoft, that they have little to show for their research investment, is their shame.