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WinXP server goes .NET – so good they named it twice

We named it already? Doh...

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Bill Gates yesterday christened the server edition of Windows XP "Windows.NET Server," the goldfish in the marketing department having apparently forgotten that Microsoft had already christened the product Windows 2002 Server a little over a month ago.

And while we're about it we might as well note that today's big "Windows XP ready PCs" announcement is of something that's been kicking around Microsoft's site since April. This one is just as dull as it was two months ago, although this time around Microsoft is claiming 100 PC models have received WinXP ready certification.

The re-rechristening of XP Server, however, is more than just a foul up and/or Microsoft attempting to milk publicity out of a non-announcement. If you cast your mind back to the original .NET announcements you'll recall that the product that was to become Windows XP was being slated to include some early elements of .NET technology. But the real thing would be later.

At the time you may also recall The Register floating the notion that .NET quite probably wasn't so much a set of technologies (or indeed an OS) as a huge pile of everything Microsoft owned, content very much included, linked together by a kind of Grand Unified Theory the Redmond marketing department had cooked up and christened ".NET". But actually, most of the stuff Microsoft was calling .NET existed already, so it wasn't so much a question of shipping .NET as of making a marketing decision as to when to call it .NET.

Microsoft has variously declared that both Whistler/WinXP and Blackcomb will be the first .NET operating systems (it may even have been Bill both times), but as Bill has now actually nailed the name to the product, then the first one will indeed be XP Server. In his speech (at Teched), incidentally, he also confirmed that what is now Windows.NET Server will ship next year, not this.

The next question is, why is it .NET Server? What is it about the software that makes it .NET Server while Win2k Server is not a .NET product? What bits are stuck on that can't/won't be stuck on to Win2k server? Marketing decision. ®

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