Microsoft unveils newest server software

Microsoft Corp. is expected to unveil its newest server software in its line of .NET enterprise products Monday during a keynote presentation at its annual TechEd developers conference here.

Senior Vice President Paul Flessner, who heads up Microsoft's .NET enterprise server division, will demonstrate the Mobile Information 2001 Server, which reached manufacturers last month. This has been an anticipated product release for the software maker as more companies build out their computer systems to be accessed on handheld and wireless devices.

The server software offers access to Microsoft .NET enterprise applications, data and intranet content from remote devices. It also includes Outlook Mobile Access, which allows users to securely access their Exchange Server e-mail, contacts and calendar.

Flessner is also expected to demonstrate the Content Management Server 2001 during his keynote. Microsoft Corp. acquired the technology for its Content Management Server in May when it purchased California, San Jose-based NCompass Labs Inc., which made software for creating and managing Web content. Microsoft made some alterations to the original software and renamed NCompass' Resolution 4.0 as Microsoft Content Management Server 2001.

Also on display will be Microsoft's SharePoint Portal Server 2001, first released during the launch of its desktop software suite Office XP on May 31.

Since Microsoft first unveiled its .Net initiative nearly a year ago, the Redmond, Washington software maker has released seven enterprise server products that contain parts of the framework for supporting Web services and applications that run on industry standards such as XML (extensible markup language) and SOAP (simple object access protocol). Those include Exchange 2000, SQL Server 2000, Host Integration Server 2000, Commerce Server 2000, BizTalk Server 2000, ISA (Internet Security and Acceleration) Server 2000 and Application Center 2000.

"Microsoft is very serious about making Microsoft server software the standard," said Dan Kusnetzky, systems software analyst with International Data Corp (IDC). "I'm not sure all the important players are open to that approach or whether competitors will bow out of their way to share the market."

But if Microsoft's history in the server software market is any indication on how its new products will do, the variety of software the company touts to run corporate computer systems could be an issue for competitors such as Oracle Corp. and IBM Corp., Kusnetzky said. When Windows NT Server 3.1 first shipped in 1992, it held less than 1 percent of the market share worldwide by shipments of software.

By 2001, the newest version of the software, a combination of Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000 Server, has a market share of about 41 percent, according to preliminary numbers from IDC.

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