Microsoft serves new beta release

Despite the US Justice Department (DOJ) and 19 states officially asking the District Court to split Microsoft into two companies in the US on Monday, the software juggernaut rolled on yesterday releasing the beta 2 version of its SQL Server 2000.

SQL product manager Barry Goffe said the web-enabled server was the "world's fastest database" on any platform. He also said the server was the fastest-growing product in the market. Goffe said SQL revenues had grown approximately 80 per cent in 1999, in contrast to that of the dominant market player, Oracle, which he said increased its revenues from the server market by 17 per cent in the same period.

Goffe also said Microsoft's SQL had outshipped Oracle's offering last year -- the companies shipped approximately 10.3 million and 6.8 million units respectively.

The SQL server had also been "phenomenally successful on the internet", Goffe said. Quoting figures from US-based web measurement company PC Data, Goffe said 13 of the top 20 retail sites (measured by transactions) were running SQL server for their ecommerce applications.

Goffe also said local companies including ComSec, Greengrocer.com, Harvey Norman, Wishlist and ChaosMusic were among those using SQL for similar applications.

While the US Justice Department showed its disdain for the company this week -- recommending that it be split into two companies, one focused on the Windows operating system and the other on software applications -- investors have stayed with the company. On Monday Microsoft's shares closed at $US73, up from a low of $63 late last month.

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