Microsoft's Big Day

Gentlemen and gentlewomen, start your engines.
Gentlemen and gentlewomen, start your engines.

The next generation of Microsoft's flagship operating system (Vista), office productivity suite (Office 2007), and e-mail platform (Exchange 2007) will be officially unveiled this week. The event is hugely significant for Microsoft; its desktop and server products accounted for 82% of the company's $44.3 billion revenue last year. That's one big cash cow.And it's also a huge event for Microsoft users. To help get you through the announcements, we offer 100 Things You Must Know About Microsoft's Most Important Product Launch Ever, including Vista's security challenge. You'll find links to the whole package, as well as updates throughout the week, here.

Will Microsoft be able to keep a'milking its beast? Or will you--the IT professional--begin leading it slowly toward the slaughterhouse?

There have been more polls on the subject of Vista adoption and Office and Exchange upgrades than the sum of all milk money of all schoolchildren in the country (OK, that metaphor has been stretched to its limit, I'll abandon it now). And they've come up with a bewildering number of answers. Yes. No. Maybe.

The latest survey found that 86% of IT managers expect to implement Vista sooner or later--but only 26% have an actual Vista implementation plan in place, according to CDW. In fact, this probably-but-later response has been the only thing that IT folks seem to agree on. Pretty much all of them--with the exception of an extreme minority--say they'll wait until there have been some real-world implementations by their more intrepid colleagues before attempting their own implementations.

To hear what our experts think of the almost-final versions of these long-awaited products--our reviewers took the very latest builds, which are expected to closely resemble the final retail releases--check out our pieces on Vista, Office 2007, and Exchange 2007 in order to establish an independent baseline before all the Microsoft-sponsored hoopla begins.

And just in case that's not enough, Mitch Wagner pulled together a list of the best Web resources covering Microsoft's enormous product push that provide you with even more resources--most of them by trusted independent industry observers--to investigate as you try to sort through the upcoming informational deluge.

What do you think? When--if ever--will you be buying these latest Microsoft products? Will you support or abandon the Microsoft product dynasty? Join the discussion below.