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Microsoft Renames (Again) -- Delays -- SQL Everywhere

Microsoft this week quietly announced it is dropping the highly touted renaming of SQL Server Mobile Edition to SQL Server Everywhere Edition. Due to the complications of changing the name so late in the product's release cycle, the company will delay the release of the latest version for an indefinite period of "several weeks."

Instead, the pending product will now be dubbed SQL Server Compact Edition or SQLce.

SQL Server Everywhere Edition was until recently scheduled to begin shipping to customers in November. The delays are mostly attributable to needing to change the product's localization and documentation, according to statements on a company blog. However, Microsoft still hopes to get the final product out by the end of the year.

In a weird sleight of hand, the company now refers to Everywhere Edition as the product's "pre-release name," according to a company spokesperson.

The announcement, which was made on the blog of Steve Lasker, a Microsoft program manager, said the name change was made at customers' request. However, the new name SQLce promises to cause perhaps even more confusion than Everywhere Edition -- especially since the company will now have to try to distance SQLce from the idea that it is limited to running on only Windows CE devices. (Windows CE, in fact, has its own confusing name history -- having originally been planned to stand for "consumer electronics" although company officials don't acknowledge that name ever existed.)

The change to Everywhere had been premised on the idea that Mobile Edition, its previous name, implied that it was only useful on mobile devices -- an marketing angle that Microsoft is now also trying to distance itself from.

Indeed, the latest update to Microsoft's mobile device edition of SQL Server -- an embeddable, small-memory footprint version of the database engine -- specifically adds the ability to run on a PC or laptop. That, however, is not a technical change but a licensing change.

SQL Server 2005 Everywhere Edition was announced in April by Senior Vice President of Server Applications Paul Flessner as the replacement for SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition as well as its direct descendant.

The change to Everywhere Edition had been premised on the idea that it might help the company get a leg up on its chief rival and market leader, Sybase SQL Anywhere.

In that regard, the naming of the product might be characterized as having more to do with distancing it from previous, now-discredited, marketing angles than with describing its goals. It is also plausible that customers found SQL Everywhere too close to Sybase's SQL Anywhere.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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