Microsoft Expects Big Growth in Servers and Tools

Senior vice president Eric Rudder says the rollouts of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 in the coming year will further bolster Microsoft's presence, and that Express versions will help "bring new folks in."

REDMOND, Wash.—Microsofts servers and tools business saw substantial growth over the past year, and the company expects that new releases of its major tools platform and database will bring much of the same for the coming year, a senior company executive said Thursday.

"Fiscal year 04 was a great year for the business," Eric Rudder, senior vice president of servers and tools at Microsoft Corp., said during his presentation Thursday at Microsofts financial analyst day at its campus here. Indeed, Rudder said his groups priorities for the current fiscal year are much the same as last.

The release of Windows Server 2003 anchored last fiscal years growth, he said, along with the release of Microsofts Speech Server and management products.

But the coming year, with the anticipated release of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, is expected to buoy the company even more.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead more here about SQL Server 2005, now in its second beta.

Rudder said Microsofts servers and tools group "had a fantastic year" last year with revenue growth of $1.3 billion and profitability of $800 million.

Rudder said more than 62 percent of the worlds servers run Windows. In addition, SQL Server revenue grew by 20 percent.

Meanwhile, Rudder said he expects the Express versions of Microsofts Visual Studio and Web development tools to expose even more developers to the Microsoft toolset.

Among both the fiscal year 2004 and fiscal year 2005 priorities for the division are to continue driving server and tools usage and revenue. Rudder said he expects the Express tools, which are aimed at hobbyists, enthusiasts and students, to bring more people into the Microsoft developer ranks.

"Were not only targeting the top-end developers, but also looking to bring new folks in; thats what Express is all about," Rudder said.

Rudder then called out Prashant Sridharan, lead product manager on Visual Studio 2005 Team System, to demonstrate the new, team-focused technology that addresses the application development life cycle more broadly and gets the operational part of the IT team into the equation earlier.

"One reason we put servers and tools together is because they really have some common concerns," Rudder said. "We found out we could do a much better job of getting developers and IT pros to work together."

The Visual Studio Team System includes design and modeling tools, development tools and testing tools, as well as features that enhance the integration between development and operations.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read about Microsofts attempt to draw partners to its team system.

"We previously relied on companies like [IBM] Rational, Mercury, Compuware and Borland" for some of the technology now covered in the VSTS tool, Rudder said. "But youll still see more from them actually competing with us," but also supporting and complementing the Microsoft technology.

This would fit in with another of the groups expressed priorities: to grow the partner ecosystem.

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