April 9, 2004 1:36 PM PDT

Microsoft reins in Longhorn for 2006 launch

Microsoft said on Friday that it is aiming to release Longhorn in the first half of 2006--a move that will require the company to scale back some of its more ambitious plans for the next version of Windows.

The company said Longhorn will still include three major advances: a new file system known as WinFS, a new graphics engine dubbed Avalon and a Web Services architecture known as Indigo.

"There may be specific features within those subsystems that will be scaled back," lead product manager Greg Sullivan said. Sullivan would not identify which features have been trimmed but said such efforts are typical of all new releases of the Windows operating system.

"It's a matter of scaling back by degrees," Sullivan said. "In some cases, the scenarios won't be as all-encompassing."

Microsoft has been reluctant to pin down a date for the launch of the Windows update, though Chief Software Architect Bill Gates said recently that 2006 was a likely target. Even now, there is no public target for Longhorn's release, Sullivan said, but acknowledged the company's internal goal of shipping it by the middle of 2006.

Microsoft plans to cut features from Longhorn and roll them into a future release of Windows, code-named Blackcomb, Jim Allchin, vice president of Microsoft's platform group, told CNET News.com last month. Details on the changes to Longhorn were first reported earlier Friday by BusinessWeek.

Work on Longhorn slowed after Microsoft shifted programmers from that effort to the task of adding security features into Windows XP Service Pack 2, or SP2, an update due to be released shortly.

In an interview with CNET News.com last month, CEO Steve Ballmer said Microsoft had made a decision to prioritize SP2 at Longhorn's expense. Ballmer said all the major components would still be part of the OS but that the company was planning to "carve a couple of features around the edges."

Microsoft also said Friday that the next version of Office, due to arrive at about the same time as Longhorn, will run on prior versions of Windows. The company has talked about an Office version designed to specifically take advantage of Longhorn's new features.

"Microsoft knows that customers have different roll-out needs," a representative said. "We'll be working to ensure they can use next version of Office with other recent versions of Windows as well (as Longhorn)."

The company representative declined to discuss specific changes to features planned for the next version of Office, saying "it's very early in the development process to speculate on specifics."

Microsoft has also decided not to move ahead with a full interim release of Windows before Longhorn.

"Any smart company is going to have contingency plans," Sullivan said. "That's what we were doing. Longhorn is the next release of Windows."

However, a more modest update to Windows XP still under consideration could include a new Media Player, among other new features. Sullivan said no final decisions have been made on that.


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Allchin said the software giant also plans a marketing effort to tout technological advances that are only possible when running Windows XP, such as the ability to connect to the portable Media Center devices that are set to debut later this year.

As for where the cuts to Longhorn may come, some may be in the extent to which the WinFS file system is implemented. Sullivan said work is focused on making sure that WinFS is accessible from within desktop PCs running Longhorn.

"We're still scoping out exactly what are the specific features and scenarios that will be delivered," Sullivan said. "The essence of the WinFS file system will be delivered."

Microsoft executives said last month that the first widespread test, or beta, version of the software, would likely not arrive until the first half of next year. The company had originally promised that a beta would arrive this summer.

Microsoft gave out very early code to developers at last October's professional developer conference in Los Angeles. Sullivan said the company will release an updated preview version of Longhorn at WinHec, the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, scheduled for early May in Seattle. The company will also offer hardware makers more details on the types of machines that will be needed in order to run Longhorn, he added.

"We are going to provide some broad guidance to hardware manufacturers about the kind of systems that will be great Longhorn systems," Sullivan said.

7 comments

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shorthorn
this is rich M$ reaps all the free ads (aka reviews) and then delivers a half baked product . Then they announce a new product that is really just what they promised for longhorn for 2010. Part of the problem is they've just become to large to do any effective work but the other part of the problem is that they are so focused on the "big picture" that they no longer are especially competent in their area of so called expetise. lets face it Bills basically retired and the mad ballmer is well insane. note to the mad ballmer : your job is to drain the swamp not fight off imaginary alligators. If you insist on fighting alligators go to australia get eaten by one and allow someone more suited to the job to take over
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Come on over, board PC users!
I now understand Apple's strategy to release a new version of OS
X every year. This Microsoft announcement is proof that
Windows is going to be so far behind in operating system
technology.

Using XP at the end of 2005, in comparisen to OS X version out
at that time, will be like using Windows 95 in performance,
features, security, and reliability. This is not good news for any
PC user.

I cannot even fathom being stuck with XP until 2006 while other
operating systems are further implementing advanced
interfaces powered by graphics cards, new useful photo/movie/
music technologies, the ability to easily encrypt all your files on
the go etc.

Looks like Apple is going to see some new marketshare from
board PC users.
Posted by rodnarms (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sorry, no can do!
No, I don't think ANY PC user will be gladly paying the overblown price of a NEW MAC+OSX+new apps (DTP, Office, CAD, whatever...), just to boost Jobb's revenue sheet...
What I believe is the current trend of NOT upgrading will continue. As MS admitted, most of the XP sales comes from new machines, shipped with XP preinstalled. However, many new users (this one included) prefferred wiping out XP and reinstalling good old Win98SE on their machine.
Older is better in this case! I don't intent to use my machine as a media center. It's meant for work (DTP mainly) and games. And Win98 just does the trick neatly!... Forget XP and whatever "horns" may follow it. Why buy a new OS just to slow down your machine?!
Posted by (10 comments )
Link Flag
This could get interesting
Personally I consider it cheating. Whether the act is IRL or online the person is still acting out a fantasy of having sex with someone other then their spouse that IMHO is cheating. This goes beyond the notion of having a fantasy in one's head. The fantasy is being played out by two people. Also as someone else stated if you are going behind the back of your spouse when doing this its probably wrong.

What I find most interesting is that it now looks as if MS will be cutting corners with Longhorn. The question is where? In the past it has always been at the expense of security. It should be interesting to see if history repeats itself/
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DOH! Sorry......Real post....
I should pay attention to what I'm cutting and pasting :-0

Here is the thing we've yet to hear about Longhorn and something alluded to in the article. Minimum system specs., and when I say minimum I mean minimum to the extent that it doesn't take 15 minutes to boot. I'm aware MS will have a tiered system when it comes to the specs for Longhorn but my fascination is how many users will have to go out and purchase new hardware when longhorn is release. New and relatively expensive hardware. Whenever users get new hardware they are particularly susceptible to platform changes. If a user who has been on their Dell system for 3 years suddenly find's themselves in the position of needing to buy new hardware to run Longhorn it could allow Apple to make a few converts. Will they kill MS? Not a chance in heck but it could "potentially" allow apple to recoup a few market share points.

What I find most interesting is that it now looks as if MS will be cutting corners with Longhorn. The question is where? In the past it has always been at the expense of security. It should be interesting to see if history repeats itself/
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Link Flag
And it will still suck.
Excuses, Excuses.....
The just realized that their OS is a piece of crap and have to start
from scratch. Hummm...what took them so long.
Posted by 198775425444042216790779840523 (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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