"For many companies, buying Microsoft products is more a duty than a choice. That sense of duty will be tested as Microsoft prepares to launch Longhorn, its next-generation operating system, and with it the next generation of server and productivity applications.
We talked with several Microsoft executives and heard a great deal about the company’s obligation to its customers and how that responsibility will be met through the products introduced around Longhorn. The OS is scheduled to ship for workstations in the 2006 holiday period, with the server software to follow in early 2007. Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s group vice president and OS expert, has made it clear that hitting the ship date is critical–more crucial, in fact, than any particular feature. WinFS, the new file system for Windows, has already been jettisoned from the initial Longhorn feature list, and other features could follow if difficulties are found. Some features, such as the new Web services package Indigo and a new graphics feature set called Avalon, are no longer slated for Longhorn, but will be made available for Windows XP."
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