Leaner Longhorn Will Delay Microsoft Business Framework - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Leaner Longhorn Will Delay Microsoft Business Framework

The vendor confirmed that the delay in the release of its next-generation file system will also push back the release of the Windows programming layer.

Microsoft's decision to delay the release of its next-generation file system will also push back the release of the Microsoft Business Framework, a Windows programming layer that promises to make development of business applications easier, the vendor confirmed Thursday.

Microsoft officials said last week that the next major release of the Windows operating system, code-named Longhorn, won't contain the highly touted Windows File System when it's released in 2006. It had said in May that Microsoft Business Framework, which is tied to Windows File System, would ship with Longhorn.

The Windows File System delay also pushes back the release of Microsoft Business Framework. Microsoft says it will ship the desktop version of Longhorn in 2006 and the server version in 2007. No timeframe has been given for Windows File System, other than a beta version will be available after Longhorn's 2006 release.

"The current plan of record is to ship MBF in the WinFS timeframe," a Microsoft spokesman said. "The team has looked at the possibility of shipping some code a little earlier, but they're not making any commitment about that."

The Business Framework delay isn't expected to have a major impact on Windows developers, who can still build business applications for the platform, Meta Group analyst Tom Murphy said. But developers will have to continue writing code for basic functions, such as order entry and general ledger, which would become part of the operating system with Microsoft Business Framework.

"Developers would always like to have things sooner than later," Murphy said. "But on the other hand, they also want things that work."

The setback does give companies selling software tools for the Java enterprise platform, Windows' biggest competitor, an opportunity to lure developers. Vendors on the Java side include BEAR Systems, IBM, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems. "Microsoft will have to eventually show momentum, and keep tighter to a timeline to move (the platform) forward," Murphy said.

For now, Microsoft still has an advantage because Windows developers remain highly productive on the company's tools, and are unlikely to switch to Java, unless Microsoft falls dramatically behind, Murphy said.

The latest delay is the second for the Windows programming layer that would sit on top of Microsoft's .Net framework. Microsoft had originally planned to ship the technology with Visual Studio 2005.

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