Its Official: No Longhorn Server On Tap

Microsoft has redrawn its Windows roadmap: Longhorn is now client only and Blackcomb is the next Windows server release.

Microsoft has decided to skip a Windows server release to coincide with the Longhorn client and instead jump directly to Blackcomb, company officials confirmed Friday.

Until recently, Microsoft has been talking up plans to synchronize its Windows server and client releases, starting with the next major version of Windows, code-named Longhorn.

But with Windows delivery dates slipping and customers delaying Windows implementation plans due to the sluggish economy, Microsoft is redrawing its roadmap.

According to Microsofts new plan, Longhorn is now a client Windows release only. It will be the successor to Windows XP.

Its unclear when Microsoft will make Longhorn client commercially available, but given its Software Assurance licensing promises, Longhorn client could hit as early as next year.

"Customers have asked that we map our server releases more closely to how they can consume and implement advances and innovations we deliver," said a spokeswoman, when asked whether Microsoft was still planning to release a server version of Windows to coincide with Longhorn the client.

"Given the deployment cycles and budgeting that customers work through and given the significant customer interest in our upcoming release of Windows .NET Server 2003, we have determined that another major release of Windows Server in the Longhorn client timeframe does not meet the needs of most of our customers," the spokeswoman added. "Microsoft is planning a major release of Windows Server to follow Windows .NET Server 2003—code-named Blackcomb.

Longhorn originally was slated to be a 2003 release. But now it looks as if Microsofts Windows .Net Server 2003 wont hit until the late first quarter or some time during the second quarter of 2003, sources say. Release Candidate 2 of Windows .Net Server 2003 has yet to ship.

Earlier this year, Microsoft pushed Longhorns expected delivery date back to 2004. By May, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said publicly to expect Longhorn to be a 2005 technology. But it is unclear if Gates was referring to the server, client or both releases when he made these statements.

Blackcomb has been on Microsofts books for at least two years as the successor to Longhorn. One customer said Blackcomb server—the new follow-on to Windows .Net Server 2003—is due out in 2006.

Earlier this year, when Longhorn looked like a 2005 technology, developers said that Microsoft was contemplating releasing some kind of interim update to Windows XP before the company shipped Longhorn. With the new timetable, such an update may be unnecessary, however.

Additional reporting by Sean Gallagher, Baseline Magazine.

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