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Microsoft reshuffles Windows roadmap, full .NET delayed?

Pin the tail on the web services donkey

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Microsoft will fire out an intermediate release to Windows XP and push back Blackcomb, which was supposed to include full .NET plumbing, to 2003 or 2004.

With XP set to become Microsoft's primary consumer OS revenue stream, it's hardly surprising that the release schedule synchronises more closely with the 'fling something out every year' model of Win9x releases (12 to 14 months for the last two), rather than the more measured schedule for the pro version.

So does this mean that the serious B2B end of .NET has been delayed? Given the emphasis of bundling core infrastructure into the OS, then yes. But this isn't such a bad thing from Microsoft's point of view. Some of the standards used in Microsoft's version of web services, such as UDDI, could benefit from more time to bed down.

Microsoft has been planning this transition away from COM+ to a more loosely coupled vision of distributed objects for some time - longer than the .NET brand and marketecture has existed.

However since the infrastructure for the lighter, Business to Consumer bit of .NET, Hailstorm, is pretty much in place, that looks well on course. But then, this is software, and this is the Beast...

So an intermediate release, coffer-filling release dubbed 'Longhorn' will fill the gap, and slip out late next year or early 2003.

Microsoft used its annual financial analyst meeting yesterday to assure the assembled that .NET really was on track, and showed some new small biz backoffice and Hailstorm technology. The Great Plains suite gets closer ties to bCentral, Microsoft's small business portal and a new low-end version for 25 seats or fewer was demo'd yesterday. Passport authentication for Active Directory was again given an airing, with Microsoft stressing that AD's authorization options would still apply to Passport authenticated users. ®

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