More Twists and Turns on the Road to Longhorn
According to reports, Microsoft's proposed 'Shorthorn' release is officially off the table. But sources say a new 'Windows XP Premium' bundle is in the works that aims to combat the success of Apple's iTunes.Microsoft officials have said they are ready to cut some "minor" Longhorn Windows features to get the already late operating-system release out the door by 2006, but has been steadfast in its refusal to offer specifics. However, public and private sources are beginning to share details of how the tortuous Windows roadmap is being re-jiggered. Microsoft officials admitted last week that the company is highly unlikely to deliver a first beta version of Longhorn this year, as the company had promised last fall. Instead, Microsoft is expected to drop a new alpha release of Longhorn at its Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) next month in Seattle. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates also acknowledged publicly last week that Longhorn client wont hit before 2006.
Last month, Microsoft officials said that they were contemplating a number of possible ways to deliver new Windows features and functionality to users under Microsofts so-called Windows Reloaded marketing campaign. One of the options under consideration was an interim release of Windows that would hit between Windows XP Service Pack 2, which is due this June, and Longhorn client. But officials insisted none of the plans was set in stone.