Microsoft solution providers heard rousing pep talks last week from company executives, who urged them to start planning now for the deployment of Windows NT Server 5.0, even though the product does not have an official release date.
"I really think we're going to ship [NT 5.0] at the beginning of next year," Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's executive vice president of sales and support, told about 2600 attendees of the Fusion '98 conference here.
Ballmer also echoed comments made by Sam Jadallah, vice president of Microsoft's organisation customer unit, in pointing the company's partners at what he considers to be three ripe targets - Novell, Oracle and IBM.
The executives urged the Microsoft Certified Solution Providers (MCSPs) to focus on migration from competitors' products to Microsoft's offerings. They pointed to growth with NT and Exchange.
"NetWare to NT is core business," stated Bryan Watson, general manager of Microsoft's corporate account business unit.
Jadallah said that, according to Microsoft estimates, Oracle has a $US3 billion software business, and will pull in about $US4 billion thanks to that company's services offerings.
"That's $US4 billion that we think you should have and compete for," Jadallah told the approximately 2600 Fusion attendees, urging them to push Microsoft's SQL Server 7.0 database.
Ballmer said: "We're going to go straight in to the mouth of the lion, so to speak, with SQL 7.0 and do some serious damage."
Similarly, Jadallah estimated that IBM's services revenue was almost $US20 billion, another attractive target for the MCSPs.