Longhorn Comes Up Short
Monday, August 30, 2004; 9:50 AM
So what's the big deal about Longhorn in the first place? The Seattle Times offered this context: "Longhorn is more than a new piece of software. As a foundation for tomorrow's PCs, Longhorn is expected to help determine whether the machines gain or lose importance in the next chapter of computing and Internet. Longhorn is also important to Microsoft investors. Analysts expect the company's stock to idle along in its current trading range until the 'Longhorn wave' of product releases begins."
The Seattle Times: Microsoft Sets 2006 Timetable For Next Version of Windows
The Wall Street Journal said the "Microsoft's delay underscores the challenges the company faces in maintaining its traditional formula for growth. Through the 1990s, the company rapidly expanded by adding features to its software that enticed computer users to buy new versions of Windows or new PCs. But finding a formula to excite PC buyers has become more difficult, as has keeping increasingly complex development projects on a tight deadline. Removing WinFS -- one of three major new features expected to be included in Longhorn -- won't make the launch of the new operating system any easier."
The Wall Street Journal: Microsoft Is Set Back On New Windows (Subscription required)
And the failure to release Windows File System, referred to in shorthand as "WinFS," is a major deal, according to numerous analysts quoted by media organizations. IDC analyst Roger Kay told The Washington Post: "This amounts to a delay [in releasing Longhorn], because if they deliver it without the file system that was part of the original [specification], then they're only able to meet their deadline by de-featuring the product."
The Washington Post: New Windows Planned For 2006 (Registration required)
Reuters explains more on why the company decided to release Longhorn without all of its pieces: "Delivering the next version of Windows on time has become more of a critical goal for Microsoft after it encouraged large corporate customers two years ago to sign long-term contracts that would give them the right to upgrade to the latest versions of the company's software, rather than pay for each available upgrade."
Reuters: Microsoft Sets 2006 Target For Next Windows Version
The Glass Is Half FULL!
Microsoft, in an announcement issued Friday, put its own spin of the development. According to The New York Times, "Microsoft executives insisted [that the removal of WinFS from Longhorn] did not point to a setback in software development, but showed that the company had a surplus of innovation -- and not all of it could make it into Windows for 2006." "We're going to make it available as soon as we can, but that component is going to take a little more time to get the quality that's required," Will Poole, a Microsoft senior vice president, told The Wall Street Journal. Poole told the Journal that Longhorn programmers had to shift their work to help with the company's security upgrade to Windows XP and are now back on Longhorn duty.
The New York Times: Next Version of Windows For PC's To Ship in 2006 (Registration required)
Gates, demonstrating his spin skills, added: "What was the right thing? Was it to take Longhorn as a whole and get these super-cool additional WinFS features in, knowing that that would push the release out into '07, or was it to come up with a plan that was a bit more clever and really not give up much? The plan we have does give up WinFS shipping with Longhorn. And so if you want my basic assessment here, the glass is three-quarters full."
CNET's News.com: Gates: Longhorn Changed To Make Deadlines