New Apps, Early and Often?

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-04-26 Print this article Print

Large enterprises and Microsoft beta testers can look forward to getting earlier and more frequent access to software under development.

Large enterprises and Microsoft beta testers can look forward to getting earlier and more frequent access to software under development.

Executives for the Redmond, Wash., company, such as Eric Rudder, senior vice president of servers and tools, are pushing for a new policy in which software under development is made available early and often, much the way the first bits of "Longhorn," the next Windows release, were handed out at Microsofts Professional Developers Conference in October.

This desire is motivated by the delays of products such as Longhorn and "Yukon," the next version of SQL Server, and to help developers plan for and work on new projects.

Some Microsoft users said they would welcome such a move. "Having an earlier view of what is changing gives you time to think of the implications and opportunities of the changes as well as of the dangers or pitfalls, if there are any," said Brian Riley, senior programmer and analyst at a large U.S. health care services company.

Click here for commentary on how Yukons lateness lifts user expectations. In a recent interview with eWEEK, Rudder said that customers really want Microsoft to take the time to make sure products go through the necessary security reviews; threat assessment analysis; and testing for usability, supportability and traceability before shipping. "Now, with that said, [for] those developers and IT pros on a tough schedule looking to make progress on projects, the way to accommodate that is to give them betas and release candidates that are stable and where the interfaces are not going to change so they can start planning and start production," he said.

"As Microsofts products find their way into every segment of our networks, the more carefully they build them, the better," said John Persinger, internal network administrator for Source4 Inc., in Roanoke, Va.

Rudder said Microsoft will "make good use of the time, and youll see SQL ship with better application support out of the gate. Were now in much better lock step with partners like PeopleSoft [Inc.]."

Rudder declined to say if the policy would be extended to products such as Microsoft Office but did say that "in general, Id like to be more open with our road maps and be more open with sharing our technology earlier."

Microsoft is still in the Windows Server 2003 wave of product releases. The next wave of products will be around "Whidbey," the update to Visual Studio, and Yukon, followed by the Longhorn wave of products.

To read more about the features of the upcoming Whidbey, Yukon and Laguna releases, click here. "My attention is balanced between making sure customers succeed on Windows 2003, that we build great products and that we build killer functionality into Longhorn," Rudder said.

Next Page: Microsoft is concurrently developing the Longhorn client and server releases.

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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