Microsoft Sheds Light on Yukon Delay

Microsoft will delay release of the next version of its SQL Server database so that it can do the necessary quality assurance and because the Visual Studio .Net team has asked for more time.

DALLAS—Microsoft Corp., influenced by customer feedback, is delaying the release of the next version of SQL Server database, code-named Yukon, so that it can do the necessary quality assurance and because the Visual Studio .Net team has asked for more time.

Yukon was originally slated for a spring 2004 release, but is now expected to be released to manufacturing in the second half of next year, said officials of the Redmond, Wash., company, speaking from the TechEd conference here, where Yukons delay was announced on Monday. A beta will be released sometime this summer, they said.

Paul Flessner, the senior vice president of Microsofts server platform division, told eWEEK in an interview here that Yukon is a big release for Microsoft and that it will take a year to do the necessary quality assurance.

Yukon also involves tight integration around the next version of Visual Studio .Net, code-named Whitby, and the Visual Studio team also felt they needed more time. "Quality is number one for us, and if its not ready at the end of 2004 well ship it when it is ready," he said.

Microsoft is not concerned about the delay as SQL Server 2000 still has "great legs" in the market and Microsoft is adding value to it through things like Reporting Services. "Its still a very competitive product in the market," Flessner said.

Stan Sorensen, the director of SQL Server Product Management, also told eWEEK here at the TechEd conference that the product delay is essentially about quality. "The feedback that we have got from customers is that they expect a rock solid release."

Microsoft wants to exceed customer expectations with Yukon, and the best way to do that is "to give the product plenty of time to cook as well as give Microsoft plenty of time to get up and running and put it into production," he said.

Also, among the many release criteria for Yukon, Microsoft wants the database deployed in full production within the company as well as in production on real systems within customer sites as well.

"The best way to do that is to ensure that customers have plenty of time to actually get that work done. It also gives them plenty of time to give us feedback and to allow us to make the associated changes in the product," he said.