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Microsoft tests SQL Server update

Microsoft began a testing program on Tuesday for its forthcoming SQL Server database software, code-named Yukon. About 200 customers and partners are taking part, the Redmond, Wash. company said.

The software maker says by the first half of next year it will have a "public beta" for Yukon, where anyone can sign up and test out the database. A final version is slated for the second half of 2004. The Yukon version of SQL Server promises to allow users to create business reports of historical data using Microsoft's Office programs. It also will be designed to work closely with Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net, a development tool.