New For The New Year

Microsoft has a full slate of products on the way
Microsoft said last week that it's delaying the debut of new customer-relationship management software until early 2003. The product, which was due this year, is in the final stages of testing. Microsoft is hanging much of the usefulness of the product, which is intended for small businesses, on its tight integration with desktop applications, including Outlook.

The upcoming year will be busy for the vendor, which in April plans to launch Windows .Net Server 2003, its platform for powering XML-based Web services. ".Net Server is an incredibly major release," says Rob Enderle, a Giga Information Group analyst. The server operating system will include functionality for managing multimedia streaming and closer ties to Windows XP on the desktop. Also due is Microsoft Office 11, which will let users save Word, Excel, or Access documents in XML, so they can be shared across platforms and systems. Other releases include MSN Messenger Connect, which will let IT managers log instant-messaging conversations; SQL Server Enterprise Edition; and upgrades to Microsoft Exchange Server and SharePoint Team Services.