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Q&A: Microsoft's Allchin on Vista and beyond

By , NetworkWorld.com
September 14, 2005 12:03 PM ET

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You said in your keynote the Office 12 and Vista combination represents a real incentive for companies to upgrade. What are the new opportunities for companies with the combination of those two cornerstone products?

It depends on the company. But oftentimes they decide to do a deployment where they are mapping together operating system and a productivity capability and maybe a line of business apps that they make as a drop and then roll that out. So a certain number of customers will take advantage of the fact they are going to do a refresh, and they will pick up everything, and that is what they will roll out. Vista runs independently of Office. Office can run down level and if you put the two together you get some advantages. But if you are going to update them, why not do them together?

It wasn’t clear this morning if WinFS is indeed planned for the server and the client - is that still true?

We are not giving any timeframe other than that the thing will be in beta when Vista ships (Ed: planned for the second half of 2006). We need more feedback. We just came out with a CTP of our recent incarnation of it. We want feedback on that before we finalize it.

But the CTP is just for the client?

Right. But it won’t be in the Vista client or the Longhorn server.

It will be like an R2-type release?

We’ll see. We need feedback.

What is the lineup of enterprise versions of Vista? What will be the defining characteristics of those versions of the operating system?

We are not making announcements on that. We are gathering feedback and we have a plan of record, but we have not come out and said this is what it is going to be because we are still getting feedback and we might move a few features around.

You didn’t mention a timeframe for Beta 2 for Vista. Is there one?

No. There will be intermediate code drops between now and Beta 2. But there are two big milestones left, Beta 2 and RTM.

Bill Gates said today one of the big PDC “takeaways” for attendees this year would be balance between the client and the server. Can you flesh that thought out a bit more?

The way to think about it is that we expect to see Web servers that do incredible things, whether they be managing line-of-business operations with orchestration or huge data farms in terms of Internet services. At the same time, there is all this richness happening on the client. Both are important. My talk today was going after the advantages and advancement on the Windows client in the broadest sense: phones, etc.

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