Microsoft to rein in Longhorn

Microsoft is going to scale down its ambitions for Longhorn, its next generation Windows operating system, so it can get it out in 2006.

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By  Peter Branton Published  April 11, 2004

Microsoft is going to scale down its ambitions for Longhorn, its next generation Windows operating system, so it can get it out in 2006. While the company has been reluctant to set a release date for Longhorn – so it can’t be accused of failing to hit it – executives acknowledged last week that it has set an internal goal of shipping it in 2006. The only way that target can be hit is to scale back on some of the features in the OS, which will be pushed into a future version of Windows, probably the Blackcomb release. Speaking at Microsoft’s Middle East Developers Conference in Cairo in January, company chairman Bill Gates said that Longhorn was “two years or more” from launch. Microsoft has looked at a number of options to bridge the gap between XP – released in October 2001 – and Longhorn, including plans for an interim Windows release. However, Gates last month said that Service Pack 2 would be the only release between the two. Service packs are normally collections of fixes for an OS, and generally attract only modest attention. XP SP2 was in fact originally due to ship last year, but it is now assuming increasing importance for Microsoft. SP2 has a heavy focus on security, and the company is determined to get this aspect right to silence its critics.

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