Microsoft surprised many industry observers when it changed the name of Windows .NET Server 2003 to Windows Server 2003 just weeks before finalizing the product. The name change runs deeper than the server product, however. Microsoft had been struggling with knowing how to market and promote its .NET technologies since announcing them more than 2 years ago. Recently, the company introduced the Microsoft .NET Connected Logo Program to identify .NET-enabled products from Microsoft and third parties. Here's what you need to know about the .NET Connected Logo Program.

Not for Windows Server Alone
The .NET Connected Logo Program will ultimately pertain to many Microsoft products. When the company announced its .NET strategy, various Microsoft product groups added the .NET moniker to their product names to align themselves with the new initiative. This moniker will now disappear from most product names, with the obvious exception of Visual Studio .NET 2003.

Like the Windows logo programs, the .NET Connected Logo Program is primarily for Microsoft partners, although the company will brand its own products with the logo where applicable. To qualify for the logo, products must simply expose their functionality as XML Web services. Microsoft understands that it must present a consistent message to partners and customers, so over the course of 2003 it will resolve any remaining .NET naming issues and move to brand the appropriate products with the new logo. Partners interested in obtaining the logo for their own products should visit the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/net/logo.

Recommendations
Although the .NET marketing message has been decidedly mixed over the years, the .NET Connected Logo Program has the potential to become the next Windows Compatibility Logo Program, which has been an unequivocal success. If your company creates .NET-related services or applications, think seriously about adopting the .NET Connected Logo.