Microsoft wants to release its Longhorn client operating system in 2006 to appease customers that have bought into its Software Assurance licensing package, according to analyst Gartner.
Last week Microsoft said it would remove its new file storage system, WinFS, from the next version of the Windows client, code-named Longhorn, so that it can release the Longhorn client operating system in 2006.
But while the client may arrive early, the server operating system is still not expected until 2007.
A Gartner statement claimed: "Microsoft wishes to release a new version of Windows by year-end 2006 to shore up revenue and appease customers that paid for Software Assurance on the client OS under Enterprise, Open or Select agreements.
"Microsoft's earlier assertions that Longhorn was not a date-driven release no longer seem accurate."
The analyst added that the updated Windows XP and Longhorn without WinFS will not be generally available before the second half of 2006.
Analyst Ovum has predicted that the significance of the Longhorn release will be reduced by the absence of WinFS. "Clearly, the desire to get out the software in 2006 has required compromise at the highest levels of the company," the firm said.
Gartner advised that users should standardise new PCs on Windows XP Service Pack 2.
David Weeks, Microsoft Windows XP marketing manager, said the software giant has listened to customers' views about Longhorn. "We've had to make trade-offs to deliver the features corporates, VARs, consumers and OEMs are asking for in a reasonable timeframe," he said.
"Software Assurance for the Windows client is the best way to stay up to date with the latest OS software from Microsoft. Enterprise Agreement and SA customers will get all product updates that are shipped during the life of their agreement."
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