13 January 2003 Software giant Microsoft will unveil the next version of its Windows operating system, Windows Server 2003, in April.
The announcement coincides with a decision by the company to drop the .Net branding from the new product and its other software, in a bid to ease some of the confusion over the company’s product strategy.
Windows Server 2003 will debut at a conference in San Francisco, California on 24 April 2003. At the same time, Microsoft will also launch a new version of its Visual Studio .Net 2003 application development suite, currently in beta.
The new operating system can support up to 64 microprocessors and is capable of addressing up to 512 gigabits of memory and clustering up to eight machines. It also takes advantage of Intel’s new ‘hyper-threading’ technology, which enables the chips to run more than one instruction at the same time.
Most analysts and industry observers welcomed Microsoft’s decision to drop the .Net suffix. “They have made a bit of a mess of the branding,” Greg DeMichillie, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, told the Financial Times. Directions on Microsoft is an independent research company that tracks the software giant.
Microsoft has been criticised because it added the .Net suffix to a wide range of products that were developed long before web services concept had been thought up. It was also added to products that had only a tenuous link with web services.
Web services is an application design concept intended to enable the ‘discovery’, assembly and execution of application modules over the Internet and deliver them as a service.
By dropping the branding, Microsoft intends to broaden the appeal of its products. The name implied that .Net software was only relevant to customers that wanted to implement the full integration capabilities of its web services software. Instead of using the .Net brand for specific product names Microsoft will attach a .Net logo to any software that used the technology.
DeMichillie said this branding was similar to the “Intel Inside” campaign of microprocessor giant Intel and would be a more effective way for Microsoft to promote its .Net technology.