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11/7/2005
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No Job Too Big For Windows Anymore, Ballmer Says

The release of Microsoft's latest database and development tools came with data from partners to back up its claim

Microsoft on Monday released new versions of its database software and development tools, along with test results intended to prove the software has improved ability to run the largest computer programs at corporations. During a keynote address in San Francisco to launch the products, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made the claim that no job is too big for Windows anymore.

Microsoft and SAP AG ran a benchmark test that allowed 93,000 concurrent users of SAP's software with Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 database, which became generally available Monday. That's 10 times more users than can be supported in the largest SAP installation today, Ballmer said. Ballmer also said SQL Server 2005 running Microsoft's .Net middleware has beaten an IBM benchmark result using its WebSphere middleware running on Oracle's database.

Monday marked the release of SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 development tools suite. Microsoft's also promising a second beta version of its of BizTalk Server 2006 product this year. Working together, the new business software can help connect developers and information workers to data more quickly, Ballmer said. Microsoft is also broadening the software "platform" that developers can call on to create applications, by including Office, Sharepoint Portal Server, Microsoft's Dynamics business apps, and its new Live Internet-based software. The company last week said it's developing online productivity software called Windows Live and Office Live that can be shared by multiple PCs and computing devices. "We know we need to extend our platform from client and server all the way out to the cloud," said Ballmer.

SQL Server 2005 will include new business intelligence reporting and analysis tools, and the ability to use Visual Studio and its .Net languages, such as C#, to write stored procedures for SQL Server instead of being limited to Microsoft's more specialized T-SQL language. BizTalk Server 2006 will include the ability to visually plot business processes in Visual Studio instead of switching to Microsoft's Visio software.

Visual Studio 2005 will include features to help developers reduce the amount of code they need to write, and includes security technologies developed by Microsoft Research called Prefix and Prefast, which can scan code for security problems. Microsoft also introduced Team System packages of the integrated development environment tailored to specific roles in development groups. Next year, Microsoft plans to ship a server for managing code worked on by a team of developers.

With these latest releases, Ballmer said Microsoft tackles the longest-running criticism of its business server products: The ability to run high numbers of computing transactions and support high numbers of users for powering large systems. "There is no job that is too big to run on the Windows platform," said Ballmer. Microsoft said Merck & Co. Inc., JetBlue Airways Corp., and the London Stock Exchange are running its business apps.

In addition to the WebSphere and SAP benchmarks, Ballmer and Intel CEO Paul Otellini said SQL Server had for the first time delivered a transaction cost of less than $1 per transaction. That benchmark result was set on a single-processor machine running the TPC-C benchmark software at measured cost of 99 cents per transaction, according to Microsoft corporate VP Paul Flessner.

Microsoft is also stepping up its sales relationship with SAP. The company signed a new agreement with SAP that provides SAP sales reps with more incentives to sell Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 database than that of competitors, Flessner said.

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