.Net Roadmap on Microsoft Agenda

Microsoft on Wednesday will detail the roadmap for its software-as-a-service .Net strategy.

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday will detail the roadmap for its software-as-a-service .Net strategy at a media event at its Redmond, Wash., campus.

Sources told eWeek that while the focus of the event will be "directional" in nature rather than product oriented, it will be used to announce Release Candidate 1 of the much delayed Windows .Net Server family and possibly its repackaged Real-Time Communications (RTC) Server.

A source working on Wednesdays .Net event said presentations from executives like chief software architect Bill Gates will be used to outline the vision and roadmap for .Net.

"While there will be some product news—it would be impossible for Microsoft to have an event without this—the focus is directional. We will be looking at how far we have come since launching our .Net vision at the Forum 2000 conference," the source said. "You can expect the Microsoft executives to take a close look at our .Net vision as we presented it in 2000 compared with where we are today. They will also look at what we have achieved, what we have missed and how the market and economy has changed since those dot com boom days."

Gates and other executives will cite examples of customer adoption of .Net and what they see as the "tidal wave" of acceptance of the strategy among customers as one of the greatest achievements thus far, given the skepticism and misunderstanding that plagued the .Net strategy for some time after it was announced in 2000.

But, on the other hand, one of the most spectacular .Net failures thus far was Microsofts admission earlier this year that its plans to host the initial 12 core .Net My Services had been less than enthusiastically received by potential customers.

The company backtracked and said it would instead develop and sell new software that allowed companies and enterprises to host these services themselves, even behind the firewall.

Wednesdays event will be followed by an analyst day on Thursday, where industry and financial analysts will hear presentations from executives across Microsofts largest product groups.

While Microsoft is not expected to detail how many customers have signed up for its controversial new licensing and Software Assurance plan, analysts have said they will be pushing the issue.

Surveys released in May by Gartner Inc. and Giga Information Group Inc. showed that one-third of businesses contacted said they did not intend to sign up for Microsofts new plans while another third is undecided.