Microsoft added 2003 to the name Windows .Net Server, raising questions about the release date of the already delayed successor to Windows 2000 Server operating system.
Windows .Net Server was originally scheduled for release in the first half of this year, but it was pushed back to the second half of the year in March. Now it appears that the product won't be commercially available until next year.
Microsoft in a statement sent by e-mail Friday said "nothing has changed" and that the company is on track to release the final version of Windows .Net Server 2003 to manufacturers by the end of the year. It can take several weeks for the product to reach the public after manufacturers receive it. Microsoft would not comment on when the software will be commercially available.
Microsoft also said adding 2003 to the name is a "minor versioning identifier," not a name change.
Windows .Net Server is Microsoft's first server operating system that will ship with native support for its .Net Framework for Web services. .Net Framework shipped as a separate software package early this year.
Release Candidate 1, a first near-final test version of Windows .Net Server, was made available in July. A second test version is planned late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter, Microsoft said.
Microsoft hasn't helped clarify matters on the release date of the product.
A Microsoft official in April said Windows .Net Server would not be available until mid-2003, but he later retracted the statement saying he had confused Microsoft's fiscal year with its calendar year. Also in April, Jim Allchin, vice president of Microsoft's Platforms Group, said at the WinHec 2002 conference in Seattle that the Windows .Net Server family would be released "later this calendar year, from at least a manufacturing perspective, (and will) probably be in customers' hands some time next year."