It's been a relatively quiet news week on the Microsoft front -- perhaps in anticipation of next week's Mix '09 conference, which kicks off on March 18 in Las Vegas.
To close out the week, here are a few Microsoft-specific tidbits of potential interest:
Windows 7 Build 7057 -- Windows 7, Build 7057, as numerous sites and blogs have reported -- is out in the wild. I've seen a number of folks speculating this build could end up being earmarked as the Windows 7 Release Candidate. The timing seems about right, as the Windows team seems to favor repeated in-house and small external tests on a build that is a month or two old before releasing it to the general public for testing. Given the Win 7 RC is expected in April, it's not a stretch to think 7057 could get the RC stamp.
(On a related note, while the Windows 7 team has slowly but surely been sharing information on what is changing between the Beta released in January and the RC, expected in April, ZDNet's Ed Bott and Ars Technica have published more comprehensive lists of what's new.)
Great Plains 11 -- At Microsoft's Convergence confab this past week, there was little talk about the next releases of Microsoft's Dynamics apps. One Microsoft blogger did share some tidbits about the next release of Great Plains, however. The next version of GP is 12 to 14 months away and will include lots of new charting and graphing features, as well as some long-awaited printing enhancements, according to the post.
SQL Data Services -- Microsoft officials finally shared more specifics about the planned revamp of SQL Data Services (SDS). The team also published on March 12 a Q&A that provides additional information about Microsoft's planned move toward making this service more of a true relational database in the cloud. In the Q&A, Microsoft officials acknowledge they aren't yet ready to talk about how they plan to move over existing SDS testers to the revamped SDS or how they plan to price the service. Meanwhile, on another Microsoft blog, there's a useful list of a whole slew of Azure white papers, including ones on Azure Blob Storage, Azure Table Storage and Azure Programming Queue Storage.
Kumo -- Whether you believe (as I do) that Kumo is likely to be not only the codename but also the final name of Microsoft's next version of Live Search, it's interesting to see the new Kumo home page, which is currently available to testers inside Microsoft only. There are very few visible differences between the new Kumo home page and the current Live Search one; perhaps most of the tweaks are in the subpages and search algorithm itself? In any case, Microsoft needs to do something: The new comScore query-share data for February is out, and Microsoft is down .3 percent, to 8.2 percent.