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Microsoft Gives Roadmap for 2002

As 2001 drew to a close, Microsoft Corp. highlighted the products it will roll out in 2002. Several of Microsoft's biggest launches next year will be aimed at the enterprise.

Microsoft's enterprise plans for 2002 include its Windows .NET Server, the follow-on to the Windows 2000 server family; Visual Studio .NET; a new version of its Great Plains ERP software; and speech enabling software.

Chronologically, Visual Studio .NET is first. The company plans to formally launch Visual Studio .NET in February. The developer toolset builds on Visual Studio 6.0 and is the foundation for much of Microsoft's .NET services (the .NET Framework is included in the toolset).

Microsoft must sell developers on building XML Web services with Visual Studio .NET if its .NET plans are to succeed.

Microsoft isn't talking publicly about when to expect the Windows .NET Servers, other than to say they will arrive in 2002. Expect four versions: Windows .NET Standard Server, which replaces Windows 2000 Server; Windows .NET Enterprise Server, which replaces Windows 2000 Advanced Server; Windows .NET Datacenter Server, which replaces Windows 2000 Datacenter Server; and Windows .NET Web Server, which is new.

The servers will include the .NET Framework, making it possible to run applications developed with Visual Studio .NET on the servers without loading a runtime environment separately. The Windows .NET Servers will also have new Session Initiation Protocol services (SIP) for businesses to create real-time communications and call-center applications.

"Summer 2002" is the release date for Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics and eEnterprise 7.0, which will have new features for multinational businesses and will integrate Microsoft's bCentral online services.

Microsoft also hopes to prepare in 2002 to ride an anticipated wave of business demand for speech enablement.

The company will release a beta version of its Microsoft Speech Technologies for .NET Software Development Kit in the first half of 2002, with a production version to follow in the second half. The company also plans to release a beta version of a Microsoft server for enabling speech applications, similar in concept to Mobile Information Server 2001, in the second half of the year.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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