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Commerce Server Rises From the Ashes of Jupiter

Despite Internet rumors that Microsoft Commerce Server was dead, and despite the crash and burn of the "Jupiter" mega-server project that would have included Commerce Server, Microsoft affirmed this week that Commerce Server has a future.

Microsoft on Monday released a feature pack for Commerce Server 2002 and put out a roadmap for a new version of Commerce Server in 2006.

Commerce Server's fate came into question a few months ago when a posting on the popular dot-com bust site, f*****company.com, declared that the Commerce Server team was in a meeting where some members were being shifted to BizTalk Server and others were being reassigned. A Microsoft spokeswoman said at the time that the posting was incorrect.

That report came as Microsoft was realigning its plans for the e-commerce server technology. The company had announced an ambitious plan to combine Commerce Server with BizTalk Server and Content Management Server into a much larger project called "Jupiter." But then, citing customer dissatisfaction with the idea, the company scrapped the Jupiter project, leaving confusion about Microsoft's plans for Commerce Server and Content Management Server.

The new feature pack gives Commerce Server 2002 customers new, free functionality to tide them over until the 2006 launch of a new version. The feature pack includes new catalog and discount management business user interfaces, enhanced payment and catalog item sequencing features and site staging support to make it easier for IT administrators to deploy.

While the 2006 release is fairly far off, Microsoft provided some guidance about its technology investments for that version. They will include tighter integration with BizTalk Server and Visual Studio, new user interfaces built from the feature pack UIs, expanded reporting tools for business managers and enhanced customer self-service.

The feature pack is available for download from the Commerce Server site:
www.microsoft.com/commerceserver.

About the Author

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

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