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'Launch Wave' of Microsoft Products Coming in 2008

February 27, 2008 promises to be one of the most important dates in Microsoft's 33-year history, as the company will release a host of major new products, including Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

The announcement of what Microsoft calls the "2008 Global Launch Wave" was made today by COO Kevin Turner at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Denver.

Currently, Windows 2008 is in beta 3 testing, with an expected release-to-manufacturing (RTM) date of this November, according to Redmond magazine columnist Mary Jo Foley, who blogs about Microsoft for ZDNet. Windows 2008, formerly code-named "Longhorn," is Microsoft's first new server operating system since Windows Server 2003.

Visual Studio 2008, formerly code-named "Orcas," is at the beta 1 stage, with beta 2 expected this summer, and an RTM of late this year or early next year.

SQL Server 2008, code-named "Katmai," is at the Community Technology Preview stage.

Turner made the launch announcement at the keynote address opening the conference. After recapping the massive wave of launches in Microsoft's fiscal year 2007, which ended on July 1, Turner told the audience: "We're going to announce more big dogs today."

The products will launch together on Feb. 27, 2008 at an event in Los Angeles, followed by hundreds of other launch events worldwide.

As a result, Turner told the sold-out conference: "I see one thing in FY '08. I see money. I see monetization." And, he added, that vision extends to the partner ecosystem, predicting that "hundreds of billions of dollars will be available to you through monetization of these products."

Windows Server 2008 has been in development significantly longer than the other two products. Its forerunner, Windows Server 2003, was unveiled in April 2003. Longhorn's first publicly stated schedule was for RTM in 2005. Since then, it's been plagued by delays, and, to meet the 2008 ship date, it's had numerous major features stripped out.

Visual Studio and SQL Server development have fared better. VS 2005 was released in October 2005, while SQL 2005 shipped a month later.

With additional reporting by Anne Stuart in Denver.

About the Author

Keith Ward is editor of Virtualization Review magazine. You can contact Keith at kward@1105media.com.

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