Microsoft: Laying off the vision thing

Instead of grand plans, Microsoft talks nuts and bolts strategy at the Tech Ed conference in Orlando.

ORLANDO, Fla.--Microsoft conferences used to be the launchpads for the company's latest overarching product "visions." Not so at this year's Tech Ed, Microsoft's conference for IT developers and managers.

Microsoft: Laying off the vision thing

Bob Muglia, the executive in charge of the company's server software business, kicked off the conference by co-starring in a skit with actor Christopher Lloyd that skewered some of Microsoft's more notorious failed visions like "Hailstorm," a controversial online service, and the company's ill-fated unified storage initiative.

In the place of grand plans, Microsoft on Monday talked nuts-and-bolts IT strategy, mostly centered on its Windows Server 2008 operating system--previously known as Longhorn Server--in beta testing now and expected to ship in the second half of the year. One key feature of the operating system is the ability for companies to deploy versions of Windows Server tailored for specific tasks, such as Web hosting.

To that end, Microsoft said on Monday that it plans to offer its Internet Information Services 7.0 Web server software built into a Server Core installation option for Windows Server 2008. Server Core is "the first step toward an appliance-like OS, a small footprint OS," Bill Staples, a Microsoft product manager told CNET News.com.

In other news, Microsoft said it has acquired Engyro, a small, privately held software developer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. No terms were announced. Microsoft had previously done "joint sales engagements" with the company to supply connectivity software to link Microsoft's management tools to applications built by other companies, said Bob Kelly, Microsoft's general manager for infrastructure server marketing.

Microsoft didn't completely shy away from talk about future products. It announced official names for its upcoming database software and development tools. The next version of SQL Server, known by the code name "Katmai" will be called SQL Server 2008, while the upcoming release of Visual Studio, code named "Orcas" will be dubbed Visual Studio 2008.

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