Microsofts Poole Talks Up Longhorn

At a Friday keynote address, head of the Windows client business group, Will Poole, said security and connectivity top of the feature list for future versions, code-name Longhorn.

NEW ORLEANS — Windows continues to offer value compared to open-source software and Microsoft will continue to drive that message home to both customers and partners, according to Will Poole, Microsofts senior vice president of the Windows client business group.

Delivering the last keynote — in a mammoth five-hour session — to the attendees at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference here on Friday, Poole said the Windows client group was actively looking at customer needs in the area of security vulnerability, the cost of deployment, and enhancing productivity through new technologies such as the TabletPC.

Poole said there were also tremendous opportunities for driving future innovation through Longhorn and the integration it would bring, including giving Microsoft the ability to more easily and effectively deliver smart applications.

On the security front, Poole reiterated that it was the number one priority at Microsoft, but cautioned that there was "no silver bullet" in this regard. The company was looking at new patch policies that included monthly rolled-up patches and extended support for some legacy environments to next June.

/zimages/1/28571.gifMicrosoft CEO Steve Ballmer offered other details about the companys security plans and new patching policies.

The Internet Connection Firewall will be improved to secure the Intranet and perimeter environment, while e-mail and instant messaging will also be made more secure. "This will all be in beta by the year-end and in customers hands as soon as possible after that," he said.

Turning to Longhorn, the next version of the Windows client, Poole said "Longhorn is undoubtedly the most important thing that is going to come out of the company over the next few years and we expect it to create the next wave of innovation."

The goal of Longhorn will be to put the user in control and bring their information to life, he said. Its underpinnings will be the database-driven Windows File System, and it will connect people to their virtual world through real-time communications, making voice and data access easily accessible, Poole said.

Showing the roadmap for Windows over the next five years, Poole indicated that the Longhorn client was expected to be ready for release in 2005 or 2006, indicating that the release timeframe for the product may have slipped. "We have not yet set a firm date as to when the Longhorn wave starts to hit," he said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here for more history on Longhorn and its slipping release date.