A Great Plains user in the Midwest, who requested anonymity, said he is concerned it could be costly to upgrade and train users on Green. He said he doubts that Microsoft will continue to upgrade legacy productscertainly not for seven years or moreafter Green is released. "I really need more details on the upgrade path and what will be involved," he said. Microsoft officials are taking a reassuring tone and maintain that customers do not have to worry about having to upgrade any time soon. The company is committed to upgrade and support all its current business solutions applications until at least 2013, officials said.As for the actual migration to Green when the time comes, Microsoft guarantees there will be a path for customers. It will include data conversion, an overall customization conversion and user education. "Its a big, big task," Reller said. The migration issue is so important that Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates has become personally involved. "Gates has been extremely pointed about having a migration path and a logic and data migration strategy, given that we will have a single code base and the applications are being rewritten," said Orlando Ayala, senior vice president of Microsofts Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partner Group. "It will be awesome if Microsoft can and does deliver on it the way they say they will," said Bill Marshall, a developer with MC2 Inc., of Stamford, Conn., adding that he likes the Green concept in principle but is waiting for more details on how it will benefit his company. One potential drawback to having Green on the drawing board for so long is that Microsofts solution partners may decide not to develop for the current stable of business applications but instead wait until Green is released. Additional reporting by Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft WatchDiscuss this in the eWEEK forum.
"So thats where you will see two-thirds of our research and development spending going," Reller said. "For many customers, a move to Green will be a long time after it first releases. We have very real and flexible expectations about that. It wont stop how innovative we get."