Microsoft dooms Jupiter, readies BizTalk

The software giant scraps plans to bundle its server applications. Meanwhile, a revamped BizTalk could grab market share from IBM, BEA and Oracle.

Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
2 min read
Microsoft has shelved plans to bundle its server applications two weeks before the launch of a major overhaul to its BizTalk Server 2004 integration server software.

The software giant is backing away from its strategy to sell its server applications as a suite, called Jupiter, which would have included its BizTalk Server, Content Management Server and Commerce Server products. The company's Jupiter initiative was seen as a direct assault on Java server software companies, which have each created their own server software suites.

Last year, Microsoft pushed out the date for the Jupiter bundle from this year to next. Microsoft decided to scrap the bundle altogether because customers and business partners had not shown a strong interest in purchasing the products in a single suite, a Microsoft representative said Tuesday.

The components of the originally envisioned Jupiter bundle are part of Microsoft's Windows Server System, which includes Windows Server 2003, SharePoint Services portal software, the SQL Server database and Exchange. The company last month said it will launch a $20 million advertising campaign touting the advantages of cost and integration among its server software products.

Microsoft has redesigned BizTalk Server 2004 to work closely with its other server applications as well as its Visual Studio.Net development tool, Office desktop applications and administration tools, according to the company. Microsoft plans to officially launch the revamped BizTalk Server at a press event at the company's Mountain View, Calif., campus March 2.

The company in December said that the Enterprise Edition of BizTalk 2004 will cost $25,000 per processor with an unlimited number of connections; $7,000 per server processor for up to 30 connections; $1,000 per processor with six connections for a partner edition; and $750 for a developer edition.

Analysts said that Microsoft's pricing and product overhaul are intended to take market share away from specialized integration software offered by companies such as IBM, BEA Systems, Oracle, SeeBeyond and Tibco Software. Typical integration installations, which include the software licensing fee and installation, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, although cheaper alternatives are emerging.

The new edition of BizTalk will create closer ties to Office 2003 and will ship with the InfoPath forms creation software. With InfoPath, a person can create a form, such as an expense report, and use the BizTalk work flow server to route documents to different people.

BizTalk 2004 will include so-called business activity monitoring tools, which are designed to allow a person to view the progress of a particular business process by feeding performance information into Office applications such as Excel.

BizTalk also will incorporate support for the proposed Web services standard called Business Process Execution Language, which uses XML (Extensible Markup Language) to route data in work flow.