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Gates Outlines 3 Waves of Software Coming from Microsoft

Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates spent his day Thursday trying to help the financial community understand the themes behind Microsoft's dozens of planned product releases over the next few years. The "wave" model he came up with may be equally helpful for IT decision makers trying to make sense of how Microsoft's roadmaps fit with their own organizations' plans.

Gates, speaking at Microsoft's annual Financial Analysts Meeting, detailed three "waves" which carry most of the enterprise software coming from Microsoft over the next few years.

The Now wave is software the company expects to release by June 30, 2003 (when the company's 2003 fiscal year ends). This includes Windows .NET Server, which just entered the Release Candidate 1 stage; Windows Media 9 Series; Windows XP Media Center Edition; Windows XP Tablet PC Edition; Windows CE for Smart Displays; and an update of Visual Studio .NET.

A Yukon wave has as its anchor the next version of SQL Server, code-named "Yukon." That version is to deliver a unified storage architecture foundation for future products in the Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server family as well as the Longhorn wave of products.

The Longhorn wave centers on the next major release of Windows, code-named "Longhorn." Gates said Longhorn, which has been one of his primary focuses as chief software architect, will deliver "the greatest breakthroughs to date for information workers." It is supposed to tightly integrate the way applications, operating systems and Web services store, present and manipulate data.

Gates also said Microsoft expects to add 5,000 employees this year and boost R&D spending in fiscal 2003 by 20 percent over 2002 to $5.2 billion.

About the Author

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

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