The Last of the Big Microsoft Product Launches?

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cuts the ribbon on the three products at the heart of Microsoft's application platform with a commitment to speed up Microsoft's development and delivery of its core developer deliverables.

SAN FRANCISCO—Will Mondays official launch of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2005 be one of Microsofts last big launches?

Thats a definite possibility, given the multiple mentions by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer during his keynote address here of Microsofts need to develop and release its products in a more timely fashion.

Leading up to Mondays event, Microsoft had billed the November 7 rollout of SQL Server 2005 "Yukon", Visual Studio 2005 "Whidbey" and BizTalk 2006 as the companys "most important launch of the year."

SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk 2006 are the three products at the heart of Microsofts application platform.

"This is a big, big launch for us, as it should be, given how long its been since the last release" of these products, Ballmer told the nearly 3,000 launch attendees in San Francisco.

Ballmer also conceded during his remarks that "a more rapid cycle time may be appropriate in the future."

Microsoft technology evangelist and blogger Robert Scoble raised the timeliness issue on his blog this past weekend.

"Theres changes afoot inside Microsoft. Bill and Steve have been repeating in the press that Microsoft needs to ship software faster…. See, SQL Server hasnt shipped in several years. Why not? Because they added the .NET Framework deep inside SQL Server. Now, these arent two small teams that met once over pizza and beer and decided to do this. No, these are two HUGE businesses. Itd be like if GM and Toyota got together and decided to do a new project together with each others technology."

/zimages/5/28571.gifMicrosoft faces heat over quality of Visual Studio 2005. Click here to read more.

Scoble said he expected Microsoft to become more agile by reducing the number of dependencies between different products and technologies.

But that wasnt Ballmers message. In fact, during the main demo at the launch, Microsoft highlighted how not only Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006 will be tightly integrated, but also how other Microsoft wares, such as Office 12 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0, will be increasingly intertwined with those products.

Microsoft also highlighted a deal with SAP, via which SAP will integrate SQL Server 2005 directly into one of its own ERP offerings.

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