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.NET Enterprise Servers Renamed

It's been clear from Microsoft's naming announcements of the last few months that the .NET Enterprise Server products would have a new name shortly. The official word came down this week that the new name is Windows Server System.

The Windows Server System name will now serve as the umbrella term for server-based Microsoft products including SQL Server, Exchange Server, BizTalk Server, Commerce Server, Content Management Server, Host Integration Server, Project Server, Real-Time Communications Server, Internet Security & Acceleration Server, Systems Management Server, Microsoft Operations Manager and Application Center.

The name change is similar to Microsoft's recent announcement involving Office, which is now the Microsoft Office System. Both product groups appear to include SharePoint Office Portal Server 2003.

One significant aspect of the renaming is that it signals that Microsoft is unlikely to take the advice of some industry observers in broadening the appeal of some products, especially SQL Server, to support other operating systems.

"By aligning the new brand with the server platform, we are clarifying that our long-term server business and technology strategy starts with Windows Server at the foundation," Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the Microsoft server platform division, explained in a Q&A on Microsoft's Web site.

The marketing move is the latest retreat from the .NET name that company officials acknowledge was too widely used too early. Windows Server 2003 is the highest profile product so far to have .NET stripped from its name. Visual Studio .NET 2003, which will be launched April 24 along with Windows Server 2003, is one of the few products retaining .NET in the name. In that case, the name is more legitimate than for the back-end servers, as Visual Studio is a developer product that can be used to build Web services. In an interesting move, Microsoft also recently took the .NET name out of MapPoint, one of Microsoft's first legitimate Web service products.

The latest announcement follows Microsoft's recurring script in recent name changes that de-emphasize the .NET name. ".NET … is a core part of the common architecture for the Windows Server System," Flessner said in the Q&A.

Flessner said that calling the product set a "system," meanwhile, emphasizes the business value of a "top-to-bottom integrated server infrastructure" at a time when return on investment is important.

About the Author

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

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