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Microsoft has made a quiet, last-minute name change to a planned version of its Windows database which was unveiled amid much corporate fanfare this Spring.

Just weeks ahead of launch, Microsoft has binned the planned SQL Server Everywhere brand and is adopting SQL Server Compact Edition (SQLce) in a sleight of hand designed to ensure it still hits the planned "end-of-year" release date.

The reason for the change? Partners were getting confused between SQL Server Everywhere and Microsoft's SQL Server Express product. The latter is a free, lightweight embedded version of Microsoft's popular Windows server database.

The difference between the two revolves around the local database programming model, Microsoft product program manager Steve Lasker blogged. Lasker said SQLce involved the least work in terms of re-branding for legal and localization.

The change comes seven months after Microsoft's senior vice president of server applications Paul Flessner unveiled SQL Server Everywhere as providing access to "your data, any place, any time." Microsoft said the database would supply rich local data management and synchronization with other editions of SQL Server. Apparently, Microsoft felt another database was needed somewhere between the lightweight Express and full-blooded Server products.

This is not the first instance of branding gone mad at Microsoft. In recent years we witnessed the train wreck that was affixing .NET to every single Windows product coming out or Redmond. That policy was reversed because it caused "confusion." In a replay of past form, Microsoft is attaching the "Windows Live" brand to a growing hairball of new and beta online services. For more on the Microsoft approach to branding, go here. ®

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