Microsoft's historic event a few products shy of a rollout

Microsoft gears up for Feb. 27, 2008

Microsoft has said its biggest single-day enterprise product launch event ever is slated for February but it will be more event than launch.

And corporate users should think twice about building their rollout schedule around the "launch."

Microsoft has put aside Feb. 27, 2008, for a "launch event" in Los Angeles that features the newest versions of its most popular enterprise products: Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

The company told attendees at its annual Worldwide Partner Conference earlier this month that the trio of products would be at the center of the Los Angeles event and at satellite events around the world.

But in reality, only Windows Server 2008 will be made publicly available that day.

The software will be released to manufacturing before year-end, if plans execute as intended.

Visual Studio 2008 on the other hand is targeted for launch at the end of this year, according to the product team's blog. The launch event represents no more than a safety net if things should slip by a few months.

Visual Studio 2008 and the .Net Framework 3.5 will go into Beta 2 later this summer.

In terms of SQL Server 2008, the database is expected to ship between April 1 and June 30, 2008. The launch event, therefore, is likely to feature nothing more than the latest beta build.

Despite those details, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner told attendees at the Worldwide Partner Conference that Feb. 28, 2008, would be "the biggest single launch we've got in Microsoft on one day."

Microsoft insiders confirm that the event is more marketing- than product-focused.

So why the hype?

Microsoft plans to use the day to build excitement over the three products that it says form the back-end and development tool foundation of its services strategy.

CEO Steve Ballmer said in his keynote address at the conference that all three products are being "enhanced to help you build your own software plus service infrastructure."

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