Techies to Get Peek at Next-Gen Windows Services

BOSTON (06/02/2000) - Despite the delay of Microsoft's much-anticipated Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS) rollout, developers are likely to hear some new details about the company's plans next week. Industry analysts are hinting that NGWS may turn out to be less than it has been cracked up to be.

Microsoft Corp. had planned to unveil NGWS, its vision of Web-enabled software services, last week. But the event was pushed back to June 22, officially because a decision in the company's antitrust case could overshadow the rollout. But according to Steve Kleynhans, an analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Toronto, initial negative feedback from those who previewed parts of NGWS may have contributed to the delay.

However, at this week's Tech Ed event in Orlando, Chairman and Chief Software Engineer Bill Gates is expected to give his keynote on NGWS. But no sessions on it are planned.

Technical sessions are planned on established Microsoft product lines such as Exchange 2000 and COM+. "It's really hard for these developers to follow Microsoft's lead if [it isn't] saying anything," said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Massachusetts.

NGWS is Microsoft's plan for transforming its various software products into services that can be offered on the Internet. These services will be accessed from various devices using the standard XML protocol, but Microsoft executives have hinted that Windows-based PCs will offer a richer interface to the services.

So far, information about NGWS has been so fragmented that "it could be anything, and it could be nothing," said Kusnetzky.

"Parts of this sound like a rehash of DNA 2000," said Kleynhans.

Last September, Microsoft announced Distributed interNet Architecture 2000 (DNA 2000) as its strategy for distributed Web applications. Many of the components of DNA 2000, including SQL Server 2000 and BizTalk Server, have yet to ship.

If NGWS is a mere repositioning of existing products, it's still a momentous event, said Kleynhans. "This is on the level of what they did with the Internet in 1995, where they sat down and said, ‘We have a lot of good products, but we have no real strategy,'" he said.

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