Drawing more Microsoft roadmaps

Drawing more Microsoft roadmaps

Summary: 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. What's coming next on the Windows client, server and Office fronts? And when?


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:

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?

Topics: Servers, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • What about Windows Mobile?

    With WM 6 just out, what does the future for WM hold?
    • Windows Mobile integrates with Windows 7

      The desktop of Windows 7 has not yet even been envisioned. They don't even have a solid design. They are waiting to see business trends before they invest in it. They want to go after all the dynamic changes in money, and 2010 is a big year for cell tech, when the mobile web has seriously taken off.
      • Wher is ZunePhone?

        Seriously, after the Broadband Baloney article in WSJ yesterday by Robert McDowell of the Federal Communications Commission, it should be obvious that mobile anything will use the peoples airwaves, the 700 Mhz spectrum, previously reserved for the interactive TV we now call Web 2.0. This is because little if any corporate investment is needed. The towers are already operating. We only rename them the dot commons towers. Are Microsoft officers still vested in 3ghz? Serious Zune Phone potential and all that implies if so. Lets see a Peoples Phone, a 700Mhz phone, a WiMax phone. Lets see Microsoft contribute to the well being and economic vitality of the USA.
  • XP Service Pack 3

    Just as NT 4 Service Pack 7 was canned, and Win2000 SP5 was canned, I'm guessing that XP SP3 will get canned.They'll probably release a security rollup or two, but that is it.
  • More important dates

    * The date of the first "defeaturing" -- lowering the goals.
    * The date of the first official schedule slip
    * The date of the second target shipment.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Change in strategy

      After the effects of the feature on/off and shipment date on/off for Vista, Microsoft will probably be resolute about not saying much. Leaving those like our Commentator asking their Apple-reporting friends how to fill column inches between formal announcements.
      Anton Philidor
      • Expect Vista SP1 to be a top priority

        This seems to be quite out of character for a large OEM to complain this way, but it does stress the importance of SP1. I hope MS is working to increase performance/reduce horsepower needed. Despite it's security enhancements, I can't recommend it yet over XP for those who want my advice but insist on Windows.


        • And people ask...

          ... why Microsoft made so many versions of Vista. Home Basic exists for those without the hardware to run premium. The problem has already been answered.
          And the hardware requirements of Premium are not as severe as some like to assert.

          A better picture comes from the substantial increase in Windows sales - 13% - compared to last year when only XP was available. That means people are buying upgrade software and obtaining more hardware than in the past.
          Higher prices of some Vista versions may account for some of the difference, but that means people are willing to pay for the more elaborate versions of Vista.

          The "mediocre" response to Vista may be a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that some people who predicted Vista would fail are willing to overlook the actual response in order to assert that they were correct.

          My view, for some reason commentators are becoming more insistent on opinions and less tolerant of changing those opinions subsequently. No matter how compelling my own opinions may be, I don't consider the human population required to follow them. My predictions come true because of insight, not insistence.
          Anton Philidor
          • Home Basic

            is the problem. People don't see the security aspect as compelling (or even aware of it), and the WoW is missing. You can run Home Basic (with most everyone agreeing on 1 gig), but the cheapest machines (as outlined by Acer) run XP quite well. Anyway, neither here nor there, I think Vista SP1 is a priority.

  • Not to worry though .

    Even though Microsoft can't keep their appointments , it's good to know they have a lot of C.R.A.P. for sell in the world .
  • Rumor has it...

    That Office is being re-written in "managed code". Seems the developers working with Office are getting fed up with all the pain points of writting in .NET for unmanaged applications in Office.
    • and also...

      that everyone who bought M$ products is on the road to hell...;)
      Linux Geek
      • "...hell..."

        Not that folks confuse OS competition with religious zealotry or anything...
    • What's that have to do with anything?

      Managed/ unmanaged really doesn't matter does it when it comes to the end users. I'm not sure they'd care.
      • Don't be so sure

        [i]Managed/ unmanaged really doesn't matter does it when it comes to the end users. I'm not sure they'd care.[/i]

        Don't forget that MS doesn't do file formats, they do applications [1]. MSOffice files are binary object dumps of the internal data structures [2] and therefore a recode means either losing backward compatibility [b]or[/b] carrying forward the old code along with the new.

        Running large chunks of MSO95 inside a MS.NET managed environment is going to be ... interesting. The end-user is not going to have a "smooth, seamless" experience no matter how you slice it if MS goes through with this.

        [1] Nice reference recently from MS spokesbloggers on that: to MS, files are just the footprints of the software that produced them. Interestingly, this was said in the context of the DIS-29500 standardization process.
        [2] Lots of references. MS is proud of the fact.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
        • Mmm ....

          Mmm .... does sound like quite a problem.

          If only they'd come up with some kind of XML format and wrote to that instead ....
  • Windows 7

    I guess XP and Win2k are considered Windows 5 then eh? I'd consider them pretty much the same much like Windows 95/98.
    • Win2K = 5, XP = 5.1

      Just look at the about box for these OSes and they identify themselves as follows:
      Windows 2000 = Windows 5.0
      Windows XP = Windows 5.1
      Windows Server 2003 / XP x64 edition = Windows 5.2
      Windows Vista/Server 2008 = Windows 6.0

      More precisely, these are Windows NT x.x, etc.

      So yes, XP is to 2000 as 98 was to 95: 95 was Windows 4.0 and 98 was 4.10. Me was 4.90, an oddball when it comes to versioning.
  • Microsoft just aint on my map

    Unless they move to a much better
    neighborhood....... more neighbors and
    less "hood".
    Ole Man