A (Microsoft) code name a day: Edinburgh

Microsoft "Edinburgh" seems to be some kind of small-business-focused communication product. Sources say Microsoft is aiming to release it in the first half of next year.

Even though more and more teams at Microsoft seem to be shying away from christening their fledgling products with good, old-fashioned code names – favoring the ever-so-boring “V.Next” designation instead -- there are still some who are doing so.

Microsoft code names always have piqued my interest. They offer some great clues about the Redmondians’ development priorities, not to mention a better understanding of which future Microsoft products fit together, from a strategy standpoint.

code name
of the day:

In honor of Microsoft code-name junkies everywhere, I’m going to feature one, random Microsoft code name per work day for the rest of this month. I’ll provide as much information as I’ve been able to unearth on each, and attempt to provide some context as to how the team chose the name and how the forthcoming technology fits into the Redmond product hierarchy.

Microsoft code name of the day: Edinburgh

Best guess on what it is: Some kind of small-business communication product. Not clear if it's software, a service, or both.

Meaning/context of the code name: My first guess was that "Edinburgh" must be destined to become part of the Windows client set of products, given that it seemingly is part of the "vistas" code-name theme. But now I'm not so sure. I hear the product is currently in incubation inside of Microsoft Research (MSR). MSR does seem to have strong ties to the University of Edinburgh, for what that's worth.

(Interestingly, Edinburgh, Scotland, will play host to Microsoft's Government Leaders Forum on January 30 and 31, 2007. If you have any lingering doubts about just how much Microsoft wants to make nice with the European Union commissioners, cast them aside. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has opted to keynote the Government Leaders Forum in Scotland on the same day that Microsoft is conducting the Windows Vista retail launch in New York.)

Back story: Microsoft has been doing its best to capture a bigger chunk of the lucrative small-business market. It has fielded a number of products -- everything from Windows Small Business Server, to Office Accounting Express 2007 -- aimed squarely at that segment. Sounds like there are more products in that pipeline.

Additional info: When Microsoft places a product into an "incubation," it does not guarantee that it ultimately will become a paid product. But one source tells me the planned release-to-manufacturing for Edinburgh is first half of 2007, and that Microsoft already is lining up partner and PR backing for this.

Beyond that, I haven't been able to unearth much more info on Edinburgh. Anyone have any more info to share? Or have another Microsoft code name you’ve been wondering about? Send it my way and I’ll do my best to track down some leads on what it might be.

And if you want to keep track of the full month's worth of Microsoft code names I end up posting, bookmark this "Microsoft Codenames" page.