Unbundling practice

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-03-19 Print this article Print

?"> Still, other partners disagreed. One source who is close to Microsoft and familiar with its plans and who asked not to be identified said another motivating factor for XP Reloaded is the belief at Microsoft and among many of its partners that the company would have to offer an unbundling capability to meet the EUs antitrust requirements.

"If you are going to do that, you might as well practice that on the existing code base and work out the bugs, see how that is really going to work," the source said. "And then spend a year seeing what people really do unbundled, and what theyre really willing to pay for as a feature, before making a final decision on the pricing of the feature set for Longhorn."

According to the source, Microsoft would have to do some stability engineering and, by tying together all the components of Windows as tightly as they are today, would incur some regression testing costs. "But there is a solution to that, so the manifest-based deployment stuff in Longhorn will now come out earlier," the source said.

"It will be possible to buy a product where you can specify, fairly granularly, what feature set gets installed," the source said. "This will be due to the EU antitrust and not because of consumer demand because end users frankly dont care. Ironically, this will make Windows look a lot more like Linux."

Some IT professionals welcome the EUs antitrust stance. "Microsoft is a monopoly," said Brian Riley, senior programmer and analyst at a U.S. health care services company. "They were ruled a monopoly by the U.S. legal system. They are trying to extend that monopoly to digital media. I am cheering the EU decision, and I would like Microsoft to back off on this one."

Microsoft officials have long declined to give a definitive date for Longhorns release, but some experts said it is unlikely to happen before the second half of 2006. However, they say Microsoft will want to ship a new build of the platform before then. The company had originally planned to ship the product by the end of this year.

Thats where XP Reloaded comes in. The release will allow Microsoft to get some Longhorn features out to market early and shorten the step to Longhorn, especially if the company is able to release some manageability features early. "Its my understanding that they wont do anything radical with the user interface in the XP Reloaded release, but they will be able to synchronize the protocol stack on the client and the server," Cap Geminis Parkinson said.

Nonetheless, Microsofts Muglia said no final decision has been made on how to deliver an interim server software plan. "There will be software made available on an interim basis, whether its packaged as a single release or not," Muglia said. "Were still trying to figure that out."

Some enterprise executives believe the Longhorn delay is necessary and said theyre in no rush to buy an interim upgrade.

"It is much better for the corporate world for Microsoft to get it right the first time than to have all kinds of problems with Longhorn that affect corporate productivity," said Charles Reid, who is project manager for iNet-Consulting.com Inc., in Los Angeles. "None of our corporate clients are eager to deploy another version of either the desktop or the server any time soon. They have spent or are spending millions getting XP deployed and stabilized. And deploying Longhorn either in 2006 or 2007 is not high on their priority list."

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Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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