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Voila Maestro

Microsoft is sharing more information about its real-time reporting server.
Maestro, Microsoft's planned real-time reporting server, is just about official now. The software titan is finally talking about the potentially landscape-altering tool and has provided a time table for Maestro's beta release.

Microsoft turned a lot of industry heads when it was revealed in March that the company was developing real-time reporting. Microsoft wanted to keep quiet about Maestro then. Speculation about the threat such a release would pose to established business intelligence powers such as Business Objects, Cognos and MicroStrategy was soon to follow.

Just over a dozen firms are beta-testing Maestro now, as our sister publication CRN revealed this week. A full beta is also expected this year, with full shipment slated for the fourth quarter.

BI vendors aren't talking much on the record about Maestro, but those who have done so express confidence that Microsoft isn't turning out anything that's likely to threaten them. One unidentified BI software executive describes Maestro as "cobbled together with piece-parts from other Microsoft products." The same sources point out, rightly, that Microsoft has said for years it would make a push into reporting, but has yet to "make a dent" with SQL Server reporting services.

I'm betting the BI firms are more worried than they're letting on. Microsoft's goal is to serve up reports on historical data inside data warehouses and carry out more immediate monitoring of back office system metrics. Business Objects and the others have a huge head-start on Microsoft in those areas, but how happy does anyone feel when the Giant of Redmond decides it wants to play in their markets?

Watch Business Intelligence Pipeline for a rebuttal of Microsoft from a BI vendor CEO in the coming weeks. In the meantime, stay with us to keep tabs on all the developments surrounding Maestro -- and other important business intelligence trends -- throughout the year.