Microsoft plans product barrage

A barrage of products expected during the next 18 months

Microsoft during the next 12 to 18 months plans a barrage of announcements unequaled during any period in the company's history, a Microsoft official said on Monday evening.

The product rollouts began this week with the availability of the Office 2007 suite, said Microsoft's Ron Markezich, vice president of managed solutions at Microsoft. It proceeds with the upcoming release of Windows Vista, upgrades to SharePoint and Exchange, and the planned release of the Longhorn version of Windows Server. Also, Microsoft in the first half of 2007 plans to offer a beta version of the upcoming Visual Studio "Orcas" release, said Scott Guthrie, general manager of the Microsoft Developer Division.

"It's the largest launch wave that we've had in the history of the company," Markezich said. Possibly, the launch schedule is the most ambitious in the history of any company around the world, he said.

Markezich and Guthrie addressed the audience at the DevConnections conferences, which feature a series of simultaneous events spotlighting Microsoft technologies such as Visual Studio and ASP.Net.

Microsoft representatives during Monday evening presentations demonstrated a variety of upcoming technologies, such as the 2007 version of the SharePoint server, which can receive e-mail. Exchange 2007, meanwhile, has a managed folders feature that enables workflow management for e-mail usage.

Markezich touted security gains planned for Vista. "If there's one reason to deploy Vista in the enterprise, it's the security benefits," he said. Coupled with the upcoming Longhorn release, Vista can deploy network access protection.

Business intelligence is a high priority at Microsoft. "We're working hard to make sure you get a consolidated BI solution," Markezich said. During the next 18 months, an end-to-end solution will be offered for business intelligence," he said.

Microsoft demonstrated the Application Compatability Manager tool that works with Vista. The tool allows for collection of data about machines on a network. Executables can be examined and patches can be deployed. Impact analysis also is a feature.

A Reliability Monitor capability planned for use with Vista, meanwhile, tracks driver installs and system crashes.

An Exchange management shell planned for Exchange Server 2007 allows for deployment of scripts for functions such as importing users from a text file. Protection against phishing is being offered for Office 2007 and Vista.

Additionally, Microsoft plans to have a SIP-based phone available from an original equipment manufacturer next year.

Markezich also dismissed the notion that technologists overseas are taking away America's technology jobs. There are plenty of jobs in the United States, he said.

Guthrie noted the release Monday of the .Net Framework 3.0 platform, featuring APIs for Web services, presentation, identity management, and workflow. Net Framework 3.0 works with Windows XP and is built directly into Vista.

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Paul Krill

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