During a series of technical and financial presentations to reporters and analysts here this week, Microsoft execs confirmed that the Longhorn version of the Windows client and server--due several years from now--will use as its file system database technology slated for inclusion in the next version of SQL Server, code-named Yukon. The upcoming version of SQL Server will store documents, E-mail, multimedia files, and relational data in a common data store, in XML format.
Later this decade, that data store will buttress Microsoft Windows and Exchange. Instead of users dropping documents and messages into folders to organize them, then having to memorize their systems, Windows Longhorn could tag documents or digital photos with XML metadata that lets users quickly reorganize files in different groups according to content. Future versions of Office, MSN, Visual Studio, and Exchange shipping around the same time as Longhorn will pass these benefits on to customers, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates says.
"If we didn't have this approach--a version of Office that takes advantage of Windows Longhorn--then the work wouldn't show through," Gates says. "The most important ISV for us is Microsoft itself." It's part of Microsoft's plan to develop "one architecture for all our products," he says.
Before that happens, the company has nearer-term products on its plate. Group VP Jeff Raikes demonstrated Office 11, due in about a year, which uses Microsoft's ClearType software to make screen images sharper. It also has a "persistent query" window that's designed to continually return messages or calendar entries that match a given criterion. Microsoft plans pre-Longhorn releases of Exchange Server, Windows .Net Server, and Visual Studio within the next year as well. The next version of Visual Studio development tools, code-named Everett, will include Microsoft's .Net Compact Framework for writing software for handheld devices and cell phones.
After that, SQL Server Yukon arrives, along with another release of Visual Studio, according to Microsoft's plans. The Longhorn release of Visual Studio will include a new user interface and support for Microsoft's new unified storage system, senior VP Eric Rudder says.
Microsoft plans to increase its spending on research and development by about 21%, to $5.2 billion, this fiscal year, which began July 1.