“To get the already-delayed follow-up to Windows XP out the door by 2006, it has decided to omit some of the most ambitious features,” Jay Greene reports for BusinessWeek Online. “Never in its history has Microsoft had to wait so long between Windows releases. When Windows XP launched in October, 2001, researcher Gartner Inc. expected the software giant to gin up a new version within two years. But Microsoft’s ambitious follow-up to Windows XP, code-named Longhorn, has bogged down in delays. The company rarely discloses timelines for products, lest it miss its targets. But in copies of two e-mail messages obtained by BusinessWeek, Microsoft lays out a roadmap that shows Longhorn debuting in the first six months of 2006.”
Greene reports, “What’s more, the e-mails disclose Microsoft’s plans to cut some of the most far-reaching pieces of Longhorn in order to get the product shipped. For instance, Microsoft had planned to overhaul the file system, the way information is stored. The goal had been to change the way files relate to one another, so that users could quickly find documents, e-mail, and photos that have some connection to one another. It would be easy, for example, to locate not just digital photos, but e-mail from people in them. It’s an enormous undertaking.”
“To get Longhorn out the door in its new timeframe, Microsoft has curbed its ambition,” Greene reports. In the meantime, Microsoft “plans to release a new product, internally known as Windows XP Premium, that combines Windows XP Professional with an updated version of Windows Media Player. Premium will be available only on new PCs, not in boxes at retail. The new media player software lets online music stores — including one that Microsoft plans to launch later this year — snap right into the design, so that users can easily buy music from inside the player application.”
“The software will also work seamlessly with the Portable Media Player, handheld devices that run Microsoft software. The first devices, made by Creative Technology, iRiver, and Samsung, will debut later this year. The goal, Fester said in his presentation, is to ‘outflank Apple,’ whose iPod device and iTunes Music Store have quickly set the standard for digital music,” Greene reports.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: People want iPods. The market is proving it. Good luck, “outflanking Apple” on this one, Bill. As for Longhorn being scaled back? Moo. Apple’s opening is now. It would be nice if Cupertino would begin advertising Mac OS X; how it works, how it looks, on TV, in print, and elsewhere ASAP.