Microsoft Delays NGWS Conference, Windows Chief Takes “Vacation”

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Microsoft Delays NGWS Conference, Windows Chief Takes "Vacation"
C. McNulty - May 31, 2000

Event Summary

26 May 2000 - Microsoft sources have informed that Forum 2000 has been postponed. The conference, where Microsoft was to roll out details of its Next Generation Windows Services, has been postponed to June 22.

NGWS was a joint project of group vice presidents Jim Allchin and Paul Maritz. On Monday, May 22, 2000, ZDNet revealed that Jim Allchin was taking an extended vacation. In prior years, Microsoft vice officials such as Brad Silverberg and Pete Higgins who took similar leaves never returned to the Redmond software giant.

Microsoft has also been rocked by recent development in the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust action. On May 24, 2000, U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson praised an SIAA amicus brief that called for a three-way breakup plan for Microsoft. Judge Jackson also promised a swift end to the long trial.

Market Impact

It's been hard trying to figure out what NGWS will be, and it's going to get harder. Microsoft has been trying to develop a subscription-based revenue model as Windows evolves. NGWS is part of an industry trend towards more server-centric computing. NGWS is the logical next extension of a trend that includes Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), ActiveX, DCOM, and Windows DNA. Microsoft has been migrating towards distributed component architecture; NGWS is expected to extend a framework to centralize these disparate components on larger, Internet-enabled servers.

Without Allchin onboard, we expect Maritz to rework NGWS as a software development platform. In the long run, this is good strategy for Microsoft - part of the reason for its ubiquity is its historic and extensive support for software developers.

But NGWS has remained an unfocused strategy, at best. Microsoft has been extremely tightlipped about NGWS in recent weeks. At a minimum, Microsoft needs a timeout to catch its breath while it digests the antitrust developments. The Windows monopoly has been a focus of the case, so repurposing NGWS as a development environment is logical.

User Recommendations

If you're a developer, mark June 22 on your calendar - that's the rescheduled announcement date from Microsoft. If you're an end user, none of this relates to products you'll see in the next 18 months.

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