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Blackcomb Delays Expected

ENTmag.com: Gartner predicts follow-up to Windows .NET Server may arrive on shelves after 2003.

Market research firm and consultancy Gartner Inc. warned that the version of Windows that Microsoft Corp. plans to ship after Windows .NET Server—code-named “Blackcomb”—would probably be delayed through 2003. Gartner says Microsoft’s interim version of the OS—code-named “Longhorn”—is planned for release sometime in 2003.

David Smith, vice president of Internet strategies with Gartner Group, says the interim Longhorn release will be intended primarily as a means to shore up the OS’ reliability and stability.

“The major focus of Longhorn is reliability. It’s supposedly the major focus of many releases, but they’ve really spelled it out on this one,” Smith says.

Smith says that Blackcomb is being held up by, among other things, a new unified storage feature that Microsoft plans to bundle with the OS. In this respect, Smith contends, Blackcomb resembles another oft-delayed and ultimately undeliverable Microsoft operating system, code-named “Cairo.” Microsoft began touting Cairo in 1993, and Cairo was also slated to include so-called “unified storage” features.

“Blackcomb smacks awfully similar of Cairo. The big thing that Blackcomb is supposed to deliver is exactly what Cairo was supposed to deliver, which is unified storage,” according to Smith.

“Unified storage” describes a method of storing conventional relational data, unstructured data and individual files in a single repository. According to sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans, the software giant plans to bundle a version of its SQL Server database with Blackcomb as a means to facilitate unified storage services. Some industry watchers have suggested that such a move would open up a whole new can of antitrust worms, but Gartner’s Smith cautions that it’s too early to raise the red flag on a bundling issue of this kind.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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