NEW ORLEANS—Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday laid out the current road map for the release of its upcoming Longhorn client release, the upgrade to Windows XP.
The company plans to get the momentum going around Longhorn at its Professional Developer Conference in October, where many expect the first beta to be released. Microsoft will release a limited pre-beta of the Longhorn code at that conference, which developers can use to start to build applications against. The two formal Longhorn betas will follow in 2004, with the release to manufacturing expected in 2005, Will Poole, senior vice president of the Windows client, said on Wednesday.
In his keynote address titled “How We Achieve Life Immersion” at the (WinHEC) here, Poole also addressed speculation that Microsoft could have an interim client release before Longhorn, saying this is unlikely and there currently are no plans for this.
“Im sure many of you have wondered if we are going to do an interim release before Longhorn. That is something I dont expect us to do,” Poole said. “While the road from now to Longhorn is not super-short and we have a lot of things to do to get there, what you will see are a couple of major milestones on the way.
“The next major milestone from a developer perspective will be our Professional Developer Conference, so I urge you all to make sure the right people are attending PDC and get fully wired into the program as we begin that path to getting the product completed. This will be kicked off in-depth at the PDC in October,” he said.
The Road to Blackcomb
The Road to Blackcomb
Dave Thompson, corporate vice president of the Windows Server group, meanwhile, gave a road map for the Windows Server product in his keynote, titled “Windows Server Futures.” Thompson made no reference to a Longhorn server edition, saying that the next server release will be Blackcomb, the release to follow Longhorn.
There has been a lot of interest in the possibility of a Longhorn server release, ever since Microsoft Windows Server Senior Vice President Brian Valentine suggested earlier this year that there would be such a release.
But other server executives immediately backtracked, saying there might be some type of Longhorn Limited server release or some other type of technology “bundle.” In a recent interview with eWEEK, Bill Veghte, corporate vice president of Microsofts Windows Server group, said some type of release is possible in that timeframe.
During his talk, Poole also said that the IT industrys problem is not the bad economy, anemic IT spending or slipping PC sales, but rather that consumers and enterprises believe that the technology they currently have is enough to meet their needs.
Poole said Microsoft and the rest of the industry are responsible because they are not giving customers compelling enough reasons to upgrade or buy new technology. “We have to build products and technologies that give people a reason to upgrade and become emerged in the new technology,” he said.
Gamers are a good set of customers for Microsoft, with 49 percent of Window gamers buying a new PC in the past 12 months and 24 percent in the last six months, while 68 percent use a discrete graphics card, he said.
The industry also needs to use experience-based engineering to drive sales into higher price ranges. This need is indicated by the fact that, in 1998, 15 percent of all PC systems sold for $1,000 or less, while in 2002 some 76 percent of all systems sold for $1,000 or less. The growth of Microsoft products like the Media Center PC and Tablet PC is driving customers to higher priced products as they offer them new experiences, he said.
Turning to Windows Server initiatives, Thompson said the key initiatives for Windows Server going forward include improving management and simplicity and enabling automation. Microsoft will be investing in its Dynamic Systems Initiative, consolidation technologies, Windows Storage Technologies and Small Business Server 2003, he said.
In the timeframe of the Longhorn Windows client release (2004 to 2005), Microsoft will develop custom System Definition Model (SDM) applications that are validated at design time, with that validation compatible with the data center environment, Thompson said.
Those custom SDM applications could then be deployed across a dynamic data center. Then, in the 2006 to 2007 timeframe, roughly that of Blackcomb, are a number of supported scenarios.
These include custom and third–party applications with built-in automation, fully automated software and resource provisioning, and business policy that directly drives changes in applications and resources, he said.
Enabling industry innovation through partnerships is a key goal for Microsoft and involves key challenges like sustainable innovation, flexible solution platforms and frictionless deployment, Thompson said.
News From WinHEC:
For more on WinHEC, check out our special section.