Microsoft looks beyond Windows at hardware confab

by admin May 22, 2006 at 11:28 am

At this year’s Microsoft conference for Windows hardware experts, the software giant will be talking about a lot more than the operating system.

The upcoming Vista and Windows Server “Longhorn” updates will be at the forefront at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in Seattle this week. But another kind of software will also step into the spotlight–Office 2007.

“This is going to be the WinHEC where all three of these products come together,” Michael Burk, a Windows product manager at Microsoft, said in an interview. The Redmond, Wash., company will be making announcements about those three areas at the event, he said.

The show should see the release of the long-awaited public test version of Vista, as well as Beta 2 versions of Longhorn Server and Office 2007. Final versions of the PC operating system and the productivity software are expected to arrive in January, while Longhorn Server is slated to ship later in 2007.

This year’s conference is crucial for Microsoft as it is the final WinHEC before these launches, of some of the most important products in its history. “It is a really big event for us and for our partners,” Burk said

At WinHEC, Microsoft tells hardware makers where it is headed with Windows and related software products, so they can allocate resources accordingly. So traditionally it has been future-oriented, looking several years down the road. The Vista and Office updates mean that’s different this year for the PC companies, accessory providers, chipmakers and others listening.

“These products are going to be delivered in the near term, and that definitely changes the scope of what we’re talking about,” Burk said. “We are talking about a lot more near-term opportunity, in addition to the 10-year vision.”

Full article: ZDNet