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June 14, 2006

Microsoft touts Windows Live to developers and needs to

Posted by David Hunter at 9:18 PM ET.

Elizabeth Montalbano at Computerworld:

Microsoft officially launched its developer site for its Windows Live services at Tech Ed in Boston this week. The site,, offers tools that enable developers to extend Microsoft’s Web-based services.

The site includes two SDKs (software development kits), one for Microsoft’s Virtual Earth search tool and another for creating gadgets that run on, the customizable portal where online users can aggregate Windows Live services. Gadgets are mini-applications that allow users to access information, such as news and weather reports, over the Internet.

More information about Windows Live can be found at

At the conference Sunday, Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Ray Ozzie said Microsoft plans gradually to merge its consumer-focused Windows Live services with services for business customers. It’s still unclear, however, exactly how the company plans to do this.

They’ve got their work cut out for them as Antone Gonsalves reports at InformationWeek in Windows Live Causes Head Scratching At TechEd:

A member of a Windows Live team of developers says he has seen lots of confusion among the people who have visited his booth at Microsoft’s TechEd developer conference in Boston, an indication that the company’s initiative to take its software to the Web remains a mystery for many customers.

Trevin Chow, who works in the Windows Live ID team, said in a candid blog that the most often-asked question Monday at the booth was: “What is Windows Live?”

“After talking to about 25 customers, it was abundantly clear that customers have no idea at all what Windows Live is, or how it relates to Windows or MSN,” Chow wrote. “This explained why there was so little traffic to our booth — of the people that stopped by, they almost did it by accident. Those that did see us on the TechEd floor plan, probably avoided our booth because they thought they knew what products/services we represented (and were most likely wrong).”

Microsoft declined a request for an interview, but a spokesperson said in an email that products under the Windows Live brand were currently in beta.

“Today millions of consumers are using these services as we continue to advance and evolve them for release,” the spokesperson said. “We look forward to launching many of our Windows Live services over the coming months and year and turning up the volume as we do.”

Ah yes, the “rolling thunder” approach, although it’s not clear what good the noise does when folks basically aren’t sure what you’re talking about as a number of analysts observe in the rest of the article.

This is hardly an insurmountable problem, but it is certainly a self-inflicted one. As Microsoft’s Dare Obasanjo observes:

I’m sure once the major MSN properties like Hotmail, MSN Messenger and MSN Spaces are rebranded there will be more awareness of ‘Windows Live’ by customers. However I suspect the confusion around the difference between ‘MSN’ and ‘Windows Live’ will continue for quite a while. Maybe some of the marketing folks who fixed the weirdness of having both WinFX and the .NET Framework as dueling brands will be reorged into our division and can fix this foolishness.

Filed under Conferences, General Business, MSN, Marketing, Microsoft, TechEd06, Windows Live

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Longhorn Server a hit at TechEd

Posted by David Hunter at 7:47 PM ET.

David Lowe at the Windows Server Division Weblog:

It’s standing room only here at TechEd for Windows Server “Longhorn”. Yesterday morning, Ward Ralston and I delivered a chalk-talk in a small theatre (capacity = 40) in the Technical Learning Center. This was meant to be an informal and “intimate” session for customers to ask all those questions they have around Windows Server “Longhorn”. Well if three’s a crowd in intimate situations, then 120 is probably a “flashmob”. We were packed to the rafters and the session was so popular that we’re delivering it again this evening in a room that holds 500 people.

Ward is also being a bit of a rock star here today, delivering a session this morning on “10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows Server ‘Longhorn’” that was also packed out with over 500 attendees. Again, that session is being repeated right now with not an empty seat in the house.

See Paula Rooney’s article at InformationWeek for the list of 10.

Aside from the 10 reasons there was also some product naming information according to Paul Thurrott:

In keeping with established naming conventions, the next version of Windows Server, currently codenamed Longhorn Server, will retain the Windows Server 200x moniker used its predecessors, Microsoft officials said at the TechEd 2006 trade show this week in Boston Massachusetts. Given its projected late 2007 release date, Longhorn Server will therefore be named Windows Server 2007 or Windows Server 2008.

Ward Ralston, a senior technical product manager at Microsoft noted the naming choice during a presentation at the show. Other Microsoft executives, speaking off the record, jokingly promised that the word “Vista” would absolutely never appear in a Windows Server product name.

He also notes that a feature complete Beta 3 is due in very early 2007.

Filed under Conferences, Microsoft, OS - Server, TechEd06, Windows Server 2008

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June 12, 2006

Microsoft’s TechEd 2006 kicks off with a yawn

Posted by David Hunter at 8:28 PM ET.

I watched the Webcast of yesterday’s TechEd 2006 keynote and offer the modest suggestion that it would be rather better for Microsoft to take it easy on the soporific “People-Ready Business vision” marketing boilerplate and cut to the technical content. To that end, here’s the raw meat:

Security (more details here)

- Antigen e-mail security products announced last week

- Internet Security & Acceleration Server 2006 launched

- Microsoft Forefront announced as new brand for enterprise security products including the next generation of Antigen products. “The Forefront line will include Forefront Client Security (formerly called Microsoft Client Protection), a solution delivering unified malware protection for business desktops, laptops and server operating systems. An early beta version has been made available to select customers, and a public beta is planned for the fourth quarter of 2006.”

Microsoft Application Platform

- A Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the forthcoming SQL Server Everywhere client database was announced – download it here.

- Community Technology Preview of Visual Studio® Team Edition for Database Professionals announced – download it here.

- BizTalk® Server 2006 R2 was revealed last week and there was also mention of a “BizTalk Adapter Pack, a set of application adapters to enable customers to surface line-of-business data directly into familiar interfaces such as Microsoft Office or any client using Web services”.

Exchange (more details here)

- Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2 Announced – available for testing by the end of July

- “Microsoft also disclosed new mobile features and functionality in Exchange Server 2007, including support for search on a device, improved meeting request handling, support for HTML e-mail, message flagging and self-service remote device wipe. The upcoming availability of Exchange Server 2007 Beta 2 is a key step forward to general availability for late 2006 or early 2007.”

Compute Cluster

- Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 released last week

System Center Operations Manager

- Beta of System Center Operations Manager 2007 now publicly available here.

Microsoft Dynamics AX (formerly Axapta)

- Microsoft Dynamics™ AX version 4.0 launched – details here

There’s likely more to come, but it’s certainly a mixed bag of products.

Filed under Antigen, Axapta, BizTalk, Client Protection, Compute Cluster, Conferences, Dynamics, Exchange, Forefront, General Business, ISA Server, MBS, Marketing, Microsoft, OS - Server, Operations Manager, SQL Server, Servers, Team System, TechEd06, Tools

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June 11, 2006

Microsoft’s TechEd 2006 starts today

Posted by David Hunter at 1:54 PM ET.

Microsoft says Tech Ed 2006 Is Here:

This Sunday, June 11th, kicks off Tech Ed 2006 — Microsoft’s largest annual customer conference for IT Pros and developers from around the world. More than 12,000 customers, partners, journalists, industry analysts, and Microsoft staff will converge on Boston for five exciting days.

If you aren’t going to be there for the festivities, there’s Virtual TechEd plus Webcasts of the keynote (Sunday night, 7 PM EDT featuring Ray Ozzie, Bob Muglia, and Chris Capossela) and selected sessions. Hit the links for details.

Filed under Conferences, Microsoft, TechEd06

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