I would have thought that last year’s beta of Commerce Server would have been beta 1, but not according to the press release, Microsoft Unveils Next-Generation Commerce Server Technology, which is subtitled “Commerce Server 2006 Beta 1 is available for download…” In any case:
Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to deliver the beta version of Microsoft® Commerce Server 2006, the leading Microsoft .NET-based solution for e-commerce sites designed to radically simplify the creation of full-featured Web sites. In beta release today, the product is scheduled to be released in July 2006.
With the release of Commerce Server 2006, customers will be able to link their e-commerce solutions to their existing line-of-business applications and trading partners through integration with Microsoft BizTalk® Server 2006 and its broad portfolio of adapters, such as those from SAP AG and Oracle Corp. In addition, Commerce Server 2006 will jump-start e-commerce deployments via a new production-ready starter site and help customers build e-commerce solutions based on Web services and service-oriented architectures through tight integration with the latest Web development technologies such as ASP.NET 2.0.
Hit the link for the new features list and you can sign up for the beta at http://www.microsoft.com/commerceserver/evaluation/2006/beta.mspx.
Update 2/21: Mary Jo Foley explains the nomenclature oddity. This was a “reannouncement” of the December beta.