This news carries a message Microsoft needs to get out to its real customers: Longhorn is an OS to make managers' lives easier. If the company is going to have a prayer of convincing corporate customers to switch from Windows 2000 to Longhorn it's going to have to convince corporations that Longhorn is a manageable OS. So far it hasn't stressed this point. The beta marks a new, perhaps more focused management of the product. So far Longhorn has been a camel (a camel, you'll recall, is a horse created by a committee) -- overloaded with confusing features and proofs-of-concept code that has had a definite "hey, gang, let's put on an operating system!" feel about it. It looks like the freewheeling open-audition period is over and Longhorn is getting pared back to the feature set that Microsoft thinks will make the product a thoroughbred.
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Beta-Testing the Marketing?
The first official beta-test version of Microsoft's Longhorn, the next version of Windows, will omit several of the sexier features the company has been honking its horn about for the last six months -- and that throws the spotlight on what is going to be in the beta -- IT features such as user account protection services, simplified corporate image deployment, secure startup for protecting laptops and a Windows System Assessment