Now that Microsoft has provided an official ship target for Windows 7, the next major version of Windows client, it's time for some educated guess work.
Windows 7 is the only piece of the Windows client roadmap for which Microsoft is willing to provide a date right now. Here's what I'd guess about the rest of the client roadmap:
- Update to Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack: Fall 2007
- Windows Vista SP1: November 2007
- Windows XP SP3: Late 2007/Early 2008
- Windows "Fiji" (out-of-band update to Media Center functionality of Vista: Mid- to late 2008
- Another Update to Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack: 2009
- Windows 7: 2010
On the Windows server side, there's less need for educated guesses, as the server team provided a futures roadmap at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in May. On the server roadmap:
- Windows Server 2008: RTM in fall 2007 (I hear November)
- Windows Small Business Server "Cougar": 2008
- Windows Midmarket Server "Centro": 2008
- Windows Server 2008 R2: 2009
- Next major version of Windows Server: 2011
A couple of points worth noting/pondering:
* Microsoft has said its goal -- with both Windows client and server -- is to release a new version every two years. The company is trying to alternate between major and minor updates every two years. So, if Windows Vista was a "major" update, and Windows 7 is supposedly another "major" update, is "Fiji" considered the minor interim Windows update?
* Members of Windows Server management told me recently that they've reconciled themselves to not pushing to sync with Windows client from a delivery standpoint. In other words, no more chasing after the elusive goal of delivering simultaneously Windows client and Windows server releases. That doesn't mean, however, that client and server are completely out of sync. In addition to fixing bugs, Vista SP1 is expected to help Vista clients work better with Windows Server 2008 servers.
* Will the MDOP subscription service -- only available to Software Assurance licensing customers -- become the preferred (or ultimately, the only) way for Microsoft to deliver new interim features and fixes to Windows client customers? Will there be an equivalent to MDOP for server customers?
The other roadmap piece Microsoft has shared next-to-nothing about is Office. Last time a date leaked on Office 14, the next major version of Microsoft Office, the word was Microsoft was planning to roll it out in the first half of 2009. (Microsoft officials did confirm the slide deck, from which this leak came, was authentic.) My bet -- given the internal-target-date slide from 2009 to 2010 for Windows 7 -- is Office 14 also might end up a 2010 deliverable.
Anyone hearing more tangible dates yet for forthcoming Microsoft Windows and Office deliverables?