Microsoft to cut ‘Longhorn’ features to get it out the door, attempt to ‘outflank Apple’ with interi

“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.


  1. nope, it’s stupid, they seriously need to get on it! apple’s ads are too “artistic.” as if they’re trying to reach a new level in advertising instead of just marketing their product. i’ve mentioned before that maybe mac users should take things into their own hands and make a set of OS X commercials to be shown on local TV networks…i think that’d be great. especially considering that most mac users have the tools to make great videos!

  2. I agree. Apple should do some “This is OS X” nuts and bolts demo commercials NOW. Promoting the mystique the Apple brand is fine but OS X has so many advantages they need to get the word out. People just DON’T KNOW.

    As for this outflanking, I’ll bet M$ is looking to incorporate video etc for this. Steve’s read on this is that people don’t do video in the same way as music and I have to agree. This could be another “Microsoft Bob”. That said, I think the new iPods will have color screens and be able to view photos and perhaps connect to your TV and play a video you download off the net. Very few people would actually watch it on the iPod tho (if that is even possible). That would be a nice feature to have but I don’t think one that would actually get used that much. I CAN see myself downloading a video, putting it on my iPod, hooking it up to my TV and watching it that way. It will depend a lot on the download times of course so we shall see what sort of compression becomes available.

  3. I just want to state for the record, for all my fellow Bobs, that Microsoft Bob was an embarrassment and a black eye for Bobdom everywhere and that we were never consulted about the use of our name. Please don’t hate us for it — we had nothing to do with it!

  4. OSX-Advertising…A TV ad is like a billboard, the viewer has to get the message in nothing flat…Operating systems don’t get advertised on TV because they are too complex. You can only pick one feature, one message and do it in one headline and one sentence. Try it, very difficult.

  5. This is based on such a lame premise that MS needs to “outflank” Apple at anything. Yep, gotta’ hussle and prevent that 2% marketshare from taking over this year. MS is far more worried about Linux than Apple any day, this battle is long over.

  6. Am I the only one who thinks that WMP incorporated into the OS will somehow break iTunes or Quicktime or both. The best way to beat iTMS is to make sure it doesn’t work on Win XP.

  7. Now is the time to spin up a x86 alternative that is file compatible with Mac OS X using the HFS+ file system. The base of this already exists with the x86 Open Darwin Project. When Microsoftopoly tries to hold up users of Windows for the “new” OS, undercut them with a powerful, stable and secure alternative.

    The clock is running…

  8. Well in Europe M$ will be barred from incorporating its Media Player in Windows – so WinXP Premium looks as though it will be just plain old WinXP here.

  9. You all don�t get it with Apple advertising:
    1) Steve does not believe that advertising works;
    2) The majority of the advertising budget shows up in the accounting ledgers under “Apple Stores”.
    Stores = Advertising to Steve.

  10. You all don�t get it with Apple advertising:
    1) Steve does not believe that advertising works;
    2) The majority of the advertising budget shows up in the accounting ledgers under “Apple Stores”.
    Stores = Advertising to Steve.

  11. Yes, it is not possible to advertise an operating system.

    That’s why Microsoft has never done advertising for Windows.

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  12. Except for aboriginal tribes in the bush who hasn’t heard of Apple or OS X? I suggest that most people don’t switch because they are afraid of change, are unwilling to pay the initial cost of switching, are biased against Apple, are ignorant of Apple, or are content to live with Microsoft regardless of the consequences.

    Apple would have to tweak the robust mental processes of data acquisition and analysis, hypothesis testing, and objective thinking to get the masses of Windows users to step outside the box. This is too much work for the typical government-educated student.

    Uniformity of thought and political correctness are preferred to a true liberal education. I use the term liberal in the classical versus political sense of its meaning. Our nation is awash with people who are taught to imitate and not to initiate, to conform not to question, to behave not to act, to defer rather than to debate. Because of this rigorous attention to manufacture compliant constituents rather than thinking citizens we are doomed to mediocrity or worse.

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