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Microsoft Sets Launch Date for Windows Server 2003

Microsoft will launch Windows Server 2003 and the next version of Visual Studio .NET on April 24 in San Francisco.

"Together with [Visual Studio .NET]; Microsoft will unveil the products and demonstrate how customers can quickly build, deploy and manage a complete server solution for connected platforms," Windows Server Division group product manager Bob O'Brien wrote in an e-mail late Thursday.

Attaching a solid, late April date to the launch solidifies a commitment first made by Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates at Comdex to ship the operating system in April. Prior to Gates' Comdex speech, the operating system launch date had been up in the air after Microsoft missed previous commitments to release it to manufacturing by the end of 2002.

Recent Microsoft launches have come about two months after the code was released to manufacturing (RTM). That gives Microsoft a deadline near the end of February to finish any fixes from the broadly available Release Candidate 2 phase of operating system testing and any other fixes from more limited subsequent operating system builds. Unlike two previous major operating system releases, Windows XP and Windows 2000, the Windows Server 2003 release doesn't have a client component. Without the more demanding distribution requirements of a client OS, Microsoft could have some breathing room to slip to a slightly later RTM date and still hit the launch target.

Microsoft officials have said they will release final pricing information on the RTM date.

Earlier on Thursday, Microsoft formally changed the name of the operating system to Windows Server 2003 from the four-month-old name Windows .NET Server 2003.

About the Author

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

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