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Microsoft Updates Roadmap, Delays Yukon

Confirming widespread speculation, Microsoft Monday confirmed that it has pushed back the schedule on the forthcoming 'Yukon' version of SQL Server as well as the full line of its 'Jupiter' e-business suite.

During a keynote presentation at Microsoft's Tech Ed 2003 conference in Dallas Monday, Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the Server Platform Division at Microsoft, provided an updated roadmap for Microsoft which included the delays. But he also noted that, contrary to some reports, the company still plans a public beta for the Yukon product.

"We've pushed 'Yukon' back a bit," Flessner told the crowd. "There will be a public, as we had originally announced, that will come on this summer. You'll see a public beta and originally we said we'd ship in the first half of calendar year '04. We are pushing that back into the second half of calendar year '04, not driven by anything specifically; we just want to get the QA cycle right and more work around embedding the Common Language Runtime, which we're super excited about, as I hope all of you are."

The Common Language Runtime (CLR), which first made its appearance in the company's Visual Studio .NET development environment, gives applications wide-ranging multi-language support in an attempt to give developers flexibility in choosing the right programming language for the job at hand.

The Yukon beta was originally slated for release in June, but that too may have slipped, as Flessner only committed to "this summer."

However, Flessner also noted that Microsoft has added a host of business intelligence features to the current SQL Server 2000 platform with SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, which he said will go into public beta soon with a plan to ship by the end of calendar year 2003. In addition, he announced a price drop for SQL Server Developer Edition, from the current $499 down to $49.

"That will be embedded and picked up, we think, by other tools vendors," he said. "Borland has already announced that they'll be pick it up and shipping it with their C# development environment."

In addition, while Microsoft got the beta of BizTalk Server 2004, the first phase of its 'Jupiter' product line, out the door for the conference, Flessner said the schedule for the full Jupiter suite has been pushed back until 2005. It was originally slated for release in 2004.

"...our real first integration suite around 'Jupiter,' where we have the true 'Jupiter' vision, will ship in the '05 timeframe," he said.

Jupiter will merge Microsoft's Content Management Server, BizTalk Server and Commerce Server products into a single suite to create a platform for helping customers build and integrate portals.

"The plan is to do the same with the already announced Systems Center to take MOM and SMS and merge that technology together and, over time, components of Applications Center, and move those into the operating system," Flessner added. "So we're really working very hard to make sure that this becomes an end-to-end story that we can make sure that we have good total cost of ownership and simplicity around management and operations."

As for the rest of the company's roadmap, Flessner said BizTalk Server 2004 will be out by the end of the year. SharePoint Portal Services, Exchange Server 2003, and Office 2003 are still on schedule for the end of the year as well. Yukon and Visual Studio "Whidbey," sometimes simply called Visual Studio for Yukon for its projected integration with that product, are now planned for the second half of 2004.

On the operations infrastructure front, SMS 2000 will ship this year and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) is on the table for "early next year," Flessner said. The Systems Center Suite is coming either late this year or early next year.

Moving further into the future, Flessner said the 'Longhorn' version of Windows will see the light in 2005, along with a new Visual Studio product codenamed 'Orcas.'

"And then, as you move further out, things get a little sketchier," he said. "Two years, three years is a long time to project, but you can expect another release of the server, Windows Server [codenamed 'Blackcomb'], about three years from now in the 2006 timeframe. We've really just moved the team off of the 2003 product that they just released, and now really getting focused on the definition and feature sets that we'll put into the market in '06 and a lot of complement certainly around the 'Longhorn' product.

"Exchange 'Kodiak,' the much talked-about version of Exchange that will be running on top of SQL Server, this will give you all of the advantages of Web services and standard toolkits built-in, because once you're sitting on top of SQL Server, all of Visual Studio automatically supports that environment."