Microsoft Dropping .NET

Citing increased brand awareness as the primary motivation, Microsoft Corp. has officially dropped the .NET from its latest large-scale product release. Formerly known as Windows .NET Server 2003, the final product name is Windows Server 2003. The company says the next version of the Windows Server product line is on-track for worldwide launch in April. According to Microsoft, only the name has changed--not the functionality of the product, nor its deep integration of .NET technology. A company statement explains the name change: "As support for Web services is integrated into our entire product line, Microsoft is moving toward a consistent naming and branding strategy. This will make it easier for our partners to affiliate with this strategy, and for our customers to identify.NET--enabled products." Windows Server 2003 will carry the ".NET Connected" logo, indicating its ability to easily and consistently connect disparate information, systems, and devices, the company says. Dwight Davis, vice president at consulting firm Summit Strategies, says that Microsoft is doing the right thing, and probably should never have tried to brand .NET the way it did. "The .NET framework is infused across the board, so it is kind of redundant to have it in the title of its new operating system," he says. Another reason for the change, Davis says, is the .NET aspect of the operating system is not the primary selling point. "Other things like security, improved performance over Windows 2000, and ease of administration are more important to the end user, not the embedded .NET framework," Davis says. But Microsoft isn't shying away from Web services, as the dropping of the .NET name from this product may suggest. Davis says that since Web services are the inevitable future of computing, Microsoft is simply changing its operating system name. As it has said all along, Microsoft is as dedicated as ever to saturating the market, thus making .NET analogous to Web services, according to Davis.
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