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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-10-20 Print this article Print

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 products—certainly not for seven years or more—after 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.

"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."

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 Watch

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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


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