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Microsoft Plans Update Release of Windows 2003

Microsoft will release an update to Windows Server 2003 to bundle in some of the add-on components the company has put out since shipping Windows Server 2003 last April, a company official said Friday.

"We've shipped a number of technical enhancements such as Windows SharePoint Services that enhance the functionality of the base platform," said Jeff Price, senior director in the Windows Server Group. "In talking with customers, they tell us … they're happy we're doing that. At the same time they'd like us to do some work to make it easier to consume those things."

"It's likely that we will do an update to the Windows 2003 platform to make it easier for customers to take advantage of that stream of value," Price said.

Timing for the option pack is not set, but it is expected to come prior to Longhorn Server, which had been the next planned release of the Windows server technology.

Price said it was too early to say exactly what form the update would take or what it would be called. He hedged on comparing the update directly to an Office Service Release, Windows 98 Second Edition or the Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack.

Microsoft is continuing to release add-on or "out-of-band" technologies, and the company has not determined which of the components would be included in the update to Windows Server 2003.

Windows SharePoint Services, a major component of Small Business Server and the biggest file serving enhancement for Windows Server 2003, is an obvious fit for the update. Other candidates, based on Microsoft having identified the items as out-of-band releases in the past, include Digital Rights Management services, Automated Deployment Services, Real-time communications services, the Group Policy Management Console, iSCSI support and Virtual Server technology.

The update would most likely follow the first Service Pack for Windows Server 2003, which itself is expected to introduce security-related feature changes to the operating system.

About the Author

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

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