Microsoft Widens Its Server, Tools Pipeline

Microsoft Expression Studio is a "cool tool for doing animation" that provides capabilities for designers working in various media, Redmond says; other developments include enhancements to the company's server offerings.

REDMOND, Wash.—Among the new products in the Microsoft server and tools pipeline is a suite of tools for doing animation.

Eric Rudder, senior vice president of Microsofts server and tools business, said a new product known as Microsoft Expression Studio is one of the tools Microsoft is working to deliver.

"Its a new suite for designers," Rudder said, speaking at the Microsoft Financial Analyst Meeting here. "Its a cool tool for doing animation."

Microsoft Expression Studio goes by the code name Acrylic, and it is an illustration, painting and graphics tool that provides capabilities for designers working in print, Web, video, and interactive media, the company said. Microsoft got the technology through its acquisition of Creature House Ltd., a Hong Kong company that focused on illustration and animation software for Windows and the Macintosh.

Other products in the pipeline include System Center Reporting Manager 2005, BizTalk Server RFID, System Center Data Protection manager 2006, and Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition, Rudder said.

Meanwhile, regarding Microsofts product roadmap, this year the company has delivered Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions, and will deliver Windows Server 2003 R2, SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005, he said.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read more about Microsofts plans for Acrylic.

In 2006, Microsoft will ship enhancements to the Microsoft Operations Manager, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Speech Server, as well as Commerce Server 2006 and BizTalk Server 2006.

And in 2007, Microsoft will deliver Longhorn Server, the name of which Microsoft has yet to announce officially.

Rudder said Microsofts server and tools business grew substantially last year, both in terms of developer momentum as well as in revenue.

He said that 10 years ago Microsofts server and tools business was barely a billion dollars, five years ago it was $5 billion, and in fiscal year 2005 it was $9.9 billion.

"Were nipping at the heels of $10 billion," he said; "2005 revenue grew by $1.3 billion" over 2004.

Rudder said the business leader for his division is Windows Server, which has now migrated 80 percent of the installed base from NT4 and has grown Active Directory deployments by 30 market share points among midsize and larger businesses.

Meanwhile, Windows Small Business Server shipments grew by more than 40 percent and have passed $250 million as a business, he said.

And the Microsoft management business, led by the Microsoft Operations Manager and SMS (Microsoft Systems Management Server) "passed the $400 million mark, and we can build another billion-dollar business around management," Rudder said.

Other milestones include SQL Server seeing a 20 percent growth in revenue over the last year, and Visual Studio garnering more than 3.5 million professional developers for .Net, Rudder said.

And there have been more than 1 million downloads of Visual Studio Express, a light version of Visual Studio that Rudder said "will really help us in our competition with open source."

Visual Studio 2005, code-named Whidbey, "is something were super-excited about," Rudder said. "Its the only tool that will enable developers to build applications for clients, servers and devices within a single IDE [integrated development environment]."

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more about Microsoft announcing the first beta release of its Windows Vista client operating system, click here.

Rudder added that VS2005 also features "industry leading" modeling capabilities with Software Factories and Domain-Specific Languages.

He also noted that the toolset enables the shift to SOAs (service-oriented architectures) and is tightly integrated with the SQL Server 2005 database, as well as has integration with MOM to tie development and operations together.

In addition, Rudder downplayed the significance of "free" development environments like the Eclipse open-source development platform, saying that by the time you add various features supporting the entire application development lifecycle, Microsofts solution stays at a cost of around $30,000, whereas comparable Eclipse-based Java solutions could cost as much as $140,000.

Similarly, Rudder said a SQL Server solution could cost as little as $25,000 as compared to similarly equipped offerings from IBM or Oracle, going for well over $100 million, according to Microsoft estimates.

Rudder also commended Microsofts developer base for helping the company to design its upcoming products by banging on the CTPs (Community Technology Previews) of technologies such as Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and others.

Indeed, he said .Net momentum continues to grow, with 53 percent of professional developers using .Net, compared to 33 percent using Java as of the second quarter of 2005, according to US DevTracker.

And according to Microsoft internal estimates, 95 percent of the global 100 corporations and 92 percent of the Fortune 100 companies use .Net, Rudder said.

Editors Note: This story was corrected: the Windows Small Business Server shipments have passed $250 million, not $250,000.

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