Throughout 2004 we have heard about a lot of drastic changes made by Microsoft on their elusive "Longhorn" Project – such as the postponement of the key pillar ‘WinFS’, a lot of reconstruction in the internal labs, as well as the continuous delays. This year has been quite a hectic ride for the next-generation Operating System, but now as we enter the New Year its future is slowly becoming a lot more apparent.
Beta 1 has been approaching us for what has literally been years, and earlier rumors had suggested to us that we would have to wait another 9 months for "Longhorn" Beta 1 to appear at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (aka PDC) in September 2005.
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My Take: Steve Ballmer said they did not specify any specific time frame in 2006 for a release, Longhorn could be released June 2006 or December 31, 2006.