: Office 12, Longhorn and more"> Asked if attendees would be briefed on upcoming products such as
Office 12, the next version of Microsofts desktop productivity suite; and Longhorn, the next version of the Windows server and client not slated for release before late 2006, ODriscoll said there would be "no holds barred" in terms of the content and sessions being run with the MVPs.
"We will be going through virtually everything on the current plan and future plan with the MVPs throughout the three days. Of course, the level of depth and granularity in some of those areas will vary based on where we are in the planning process. But absolutely, all of those things will be discussed and updated for our MVPs in those respective technology areas," he said.The MVPs had already had access to the technical preview for Longhorn from last October, when it was handed out at Microsofts Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles, "and we expect them to continue to be a key part of that process," he said. But ODriscoll did caution that there a lot of things around these upcoming products that Microsoft would not get into, as it was too early in the process. "I expect the Office team will be more focused on the current technologies and issues they are working through and some of their work around connecting Office out to communities," he said. Microsoft also will not be handing out any technology alphas, betas or code previews to its MVPs this year, but "there will be some announcements next week about upcoming releases that will be getting into their hands. Timing didnt work out perfectly for builds alongside the summit, but expect some announcements about upcoming betas that we will broadly distribute to the MVPs," he said. Giving its partners access to the alphas and betas and capturing their feedback as part of its software development process was an integral part of the program, ODriscoll said. While he declined to give many specifics around next weeks announcements, he did say they would focus on enhancing some of the benefits its MVPs had, such as new ways for MVPs to contribute their expertise and be recognized for it. "Rather than rolling out major new benefits, this years announcements would be about enhancing what Microsoft had already committed to and getting even deeper into those connections to make this real for them and us," he said Asked about access to Windows source code, ODriscoll said that while about 200 MVPs had signed licenses for access to available source code, the company did not have any plans to announce at the summit the inclusion of any incremental products to the available pool of source code. Microsoft had also stepped up and formalized the processes in which it engaged with its security-focused MVPs over the past year, following the spate of security vulnerabilities over that time, especially as many of these vulnerabilities are first noticed in online communities. "We designed a way to more systematically connect with them so that when there were situation, and between those, that we had the right connections built and that dialogue can easily take place," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at http://windows.eweek.com for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis. Be sure to add our eWEEK.com Windows news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page: