Microsoft’s announcement this week that “Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 will launch together at an event in Los Angeles on Feb. 27, 2008″ has led to a dust-up over whether Windows Server 2008 (formerly Longhorn) is late or not. Joe Wilcox says “I told ya so” and that it’s late because the launch isn’t in 2007. Microsoft’s Windows Server Division Weblog responds that there’s no delay since ”Windows Server 2008 is still scheduled to be released by the end of 2007.” Tom Sanders suggests that Microsoft is in denial.
On the flip side of the coin, Mary Jo Foley reports that despite the big launch in February, SQL Server 2008 (formerly Katmai) won’t be released to manufacturing until 2Q08. That’s in line with Microsoft’s past promises which were suitably vague. The third amigo, Visual Studio 2008 (formerly Orcas) had no promised date and we have no inkling of the date for actual code release.
I don’t know about you, but all of this leaves me feeling a bit grumpy. I don’t much care about the exact definition of “late,” but find the launch event singularly useless since it has minimal connection with the actual availability of product. That’s not a new phenomena, but Microsoft seems to be stretching it quite a bit in order to hold a big hootenanny in February. Everybody likes a party and full employment for the marketing team, but seriously, why bother? Even worse, it makes it appear that Microsoft has no conception of their actual ship dates so they are just arbitrarily declaring a celebration and roping in any product in the vicinity.
Update: S. “Soma” Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division weighs in on Visual Studio 2008 via his weblog:
While we will be launching our products together in February, we are still aiming to release Visual Studio 2008 and .NET FX 3.5 by the end of this year based on your feedback so far. … We will start the ball rolling with the release of VS2008 and .NET FX 3.5 beta 2 later this summer, and expect more exciting news, reviews, training and resources following this.
“The February launch event is more of an opportunity to show customers, partners, and the community the wave of innovation Microsoft is delivering with all three products represented (i.e. Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, and Visual Studio 2008).”
Yep, it’s a marketing hootenanny. Microsoft presumably won’t delay any form of availability of Windows Server 2008 or Visual Studio 2008 just for this.