Gates Shares Release Schedule
for Centro, Office 12"> The second demonstration involved SOA (service-oriented architecture) and .Net; opening up Word and going to a sales form, using the Web Services in the CRM system and pulling all the data necessary to complete and update that form. The demo also showed how an increased customer discount could immediately be given without leaving the document.SharePoint is an increasingly important part of Office and had replaced the file servers of the past with a much richer environment, allowing business applications to do things dramatically better, he said. "Office 12 is the foundation for many of these dynamic capabilities, but Windows is also part of the picture, giving fewer screens to deal with and a search capability that shows up through the interfaces of Office and the dynamic software. The vision is bringing these together," Gates said. Turning to Microsofts new midmarket bundle under development, known as "Centro," Gates said this would be released in the Longhorn server time frame. The goals were a unified set-up and management screen, automating the process and offering a package that simplified licensing for customers. This approach was very similar to the one behind the phenomenally successful Microsoft SBS (Small Business Server, the second edition of which had doubled the sales of the first. "This has been a runaway success for us and it has thrived in that space as we keep taking feedback on roles and implementing that," Gates said. But there could be no single-server limitation, nor any limitations on the capabilities and richness of the technology in the midmarket space, Gates said, noting that Office 12 would be released in "early 2006" and adding that he had never been more excited about a release of Office than this one. "This is the release of Office where you will see Business Intelligence built in, you will see presence information about people throughout the software. We are building up the richness through the idea of workflow sharing and building in business intelligence," Gates said. To read more about Microsofts "presence" strategy, click here. Gates suggestion that Office could ship in early 2006 goes against what other Office executives have said. Chris Capossela, the corporate vice president of the Information Worker division at Microsoft, told attendees at Microsofts Worldwide Partner Conference earlier this year that the first Office beta would be made available to a small group of several thousand this fall, followed by a far larger second beta, which will be made available to a million or so users next spring. The final product will ship in the second half of 2006, he said. Ending with the road map for Microsoft Dynamics, Gates said the first wave would bring the role-based user experience, along with SharePoint-based portal and workflow, SQL-based contextual Business Intelligence and Web services-based composition and integration. The second wave would bring the vision of modular process configuration, he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Gates told attendees that the level of investment going into the platform software was huge, building not just on Office but also on SQL Server, the richness of business solutions and the ability to connect to Visual Studio.