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Microsoft product groups back off February 'big bang'

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Microsoft's product groups are quietly distancing themselves from next February's big-bang major launch event, unveiled by COO Kevin Turner last week.

While paying lip service to Turner's Feb. 27, 2008 planned Los Angeles launch for Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, various Microsoft teams have started to scatter, handing out their own, hoped for product ship dates.

The clear suggestion by picking next February for the launch has been that these products, expected by the end of 2007, are now delayed. In a creative use of the word "launch", meanwhile, it seems SQL Server 2008 won't actually be available to users as a finished product until after next February.

Senior director of SQL Server marketing Kim Saunders told CRN it's "reasonable to expect Katami [the SQL Server 2008 codename] will not be generally available on the launch date." Instead, Feb. 27, 2008, will be "an announcement of our next platform wave." Microsoft had not given an official SQL Server 2008 launch date until last week.

In a significant move, vice president of Microsoft's developer division Soma Somasegar has moved to re-assure developers the Visual Studio roadmap is intact. While endorsing the February event, Somasegar blogged: "We are still aiming to release Visual Studio 2008 and .NET FX 3.5 by the end of this year." The next Visual Studio 2008 and .NET FX3.5 betas are planned for this summer.

The Windows Server blog, meanwhile, promised a "debut" before February 2008, saying: "Windows Server 2008 is still scheduled to be released by the end of 2007." It has been expected Windows Server 2008 would be released to manufacturing in November.

Turner unveiled Feb. 27, 2008, as the trio's "big-dog" launch at Microsoft's annual conference for partners from around the world, hosted in Denver, Colorado. Microsoft's chief operating officer, along with other Redmond execs, used the show to state the value of partnering with Microsoft and of using Windows in the face of a growing plethora of alternative online and offline platform choices spanning Linux, open source, Salesforce.com, IBM, Oracle and Google.

It seems February will be used to reinforce this, with a blitz - owing more to marketing than actual product availability - intended to create some sense of shock and awe.®

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