Microsoft Reveals Some Longhorn Features 

Just a little more than a week before the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2005, Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin has decided to reveal some information about Longhorn the next generation Windows version that has suffered from innumerable delays. "Now due in mid 2006, Longhorn will be a major Windows version not a minor update." Allchin said. So forget the naysayers; he seems to be saying Longhorn is going to rock.

Any update about Longhorn is much appreciated. Microsoft first began touting its next generation OS at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October 2003 making broad reaching claims about the system s capabilities. Since then, the company has been mostly quiet aside from a few announcements about delaying the product and stripping away what were previously described as key features.

"Have no fears about Longhorn being a minor update," Allchin said this week. "Longhorn is not incremental," he said. "The world, in my opinion, thinks this is perhaps the next version of a service pack." It's not. It's a very big deal. There will be massive marketing. The point here is this is a big deal Windows XP SP2 was a big deal but this is a really big deal. We will put a lot of money and marketing emphasis behind this and work with our partners to make sure there's a lot of opportunity for them.

Allchin discussed the following Longhorn features 

Instant Desktop Search Longhorn's search feature is called Visualize and Organize and will still be included despite the removal of WinFS from the system Instant Desktop Search will include the virtual folders functionality that Microsoft first showed at PDC 2003.

SyncManager

We'll have a SyncManager in Longhorn to simplify the sync process for phones and other machines It s not ActiveSync the PocketPC tool but a new version of synchronization a brand new system being done for Longhorn that will have a whole set of wireless support so it can run more seamlessly between work and home and understands the environment br Security Longhorn will be safe and secure Safety means you help users to protect themselves Parental controls deciding who you can talk to and what time being able to browse the Internet in a protected window Those are all areas we re focusing on Allchin also touched on Longhhorn s user privilege level features Longhorn will run all users as standard users instead of administrative users Today in most installs a large majority run as admin so everything on the machine has full rights Longhorn will run as a standard user with limited user rights that can t impact the operating system or the user br Mobility features Longhorn will feature whole volume encryption so that a lost or stolen PC won t cough up your data to thieves And Longhorn era laptops and Tablet PCs will feature auxiliary displays through which users can view calendar and email information on a small LCD screen even when the device is shut down br Easy deployment It must be easy to deploy at home either adding a new machine to an environment at home or replacing a machine and migrating information from one machine to another or at work where an IT professional is trying to deploy images or to manage systems that are in place br Microsoft Internet Explorer IE Longhorn will include an IE version that s much more advanced than the IE 7 0 product the company will ship for XP users later this year The new version of IE will integrate with Longhorn s parental controls and security and isolation features br Antispyware Longhorn will include antispyware technology but not antivirus technology Allchin says p p br Allchin also discussed the Longhorn roadmap As previously reported Microsoft will ship a pre Beta 1 build of Longhorn to attendees of the WinHEC 2005 trade show that will take place the last week of April in Seattle That preview won t include the new Aero UI but the UI will be dramatically improved from the alpha releases the company previously shipped Allchin noted that Microsoft will ship a beta release after PDC 2005 which will be held this September in Los Angeles According to the most recent schedule I ve seen Longhorn Beta 1 is still due in late May 2005 while Longhorn Beta 2 is due in October 2005 right after PDC So it s unclear whether Allchin s comments represent another delay for Beta 1 br However Allchin did hint at something that I reported about previously Although Microsoft plans to finalize Longhorn by May 2006 I ve heard that the company might delay the release until late 2006 to coincide with the release of Microsoft Office 12 We re still on track for shipping Longhorn by holiday 2006 so we ll be done before then he said this week For Microsoft the holiday season starts in September so presumably Longhorn would be widely available by August or September 2006 We ll see br I ve already written about most of these features on the SuperSite for Windows I ll update my most recent showcase The Road to Windows Longhorn 2005 later today with new information and some prototype screenshots br http www winsupersite com showcase longhorn preview 2005 asp p p Short Takes br An often irreverent look at some of the week s other stories by Paul Thurrott thurrott windowsitpro com p p About Those 8 Tablet PC Rumors br I noticed this week some reports wondering whether Microsoft was downsizing the Tablet PC Apparently some intrepid reporter discovered that Microsoft was testing 8 Tablet PC devices and figured she had a scoop There s just one problem Microsoft publicly revealed the existence of these devices a year ago at Windows Hardware Engineering Conference WinHEC 2004 and I wrote about it at that time and even published a photograph of the company s prototype UI for the smaller tablets Here s a blurb from the SuperSite for Windows dated May 2004 For a new generation of small 5 inch to 8 inch Tablet PC devices that will begin shipping this year Microsoft is developing a dashboard page that will provide access to PIM information that users need all in a single handy page The Pen Optimized Skin presents time and calendar information links to recently accessed documents and applications the 7 most recent unread email messages the most recent uncompleted tasks and the links to your most often used applications This skin is designed to sit on top of and generally replace the basic Windows user interface on devices whose screens are too small for a desktop UI You can find more information ahem in two articles on the SuperSite for Windows p p WinHEC 2004 Show Report and Photo Gallery br http www winsupersite com reviews winhec 2004 asp p p WinHEC 2004 Longhorn Prototypes Gallery br http www winsupersite com showcase longhorn winhec proto asp p p More Details Emerge in Microsoft Gateway Settlement br This week Microsoft and Gateway announced that they had settled the antitrust differences that most of us had forgotten they had but at the time of the announcement there were few details Now like so much sand in the hourglass those details are emerging Microsoft will take a 714 million charge against earnings to cover antitrust related claims in its fiscal third quarter which ended March 31 Microsoft will pay 150 million of that amount to Gateway over 4 years and 550 million will be set aside to cover other upcoming antitrust related payouts to RealNetworks primarily Gateway will use the money for marketing R amp D and for testing Gateway hardware with upcoming Microsoft software including Longhorn Gateway executives say they re pleased to get that legal nightmare behind them which makes sense because the company wouldn t exist if Microsoft stopped selling software to it p p Microsoft Ships Response to EU br After all the excitement this week about Microsoft s delayed response to the European Union EU regarding a trustee to oversee the company s compliance with the EU s antitrust ruling you ll be happy to discover that the crisis is over Yesterday Microsoft officials delivered a response in writing to the EU And hold on to your hats because the EU now says that it s studying the response Aren t legal matters exciting p p Microsoft Plans Itanium Version of Longhorn Server br With all the brouhaha over the x64 platform which will likely usher in a new age of 64 bit computing for the masses a lot of us have forgotten about that other 64 bit platform the woefully underrated Itanium Developed by Intel and HP but later abandoned by HP the development part anyway the Itanium has received a lot of flack for its expense size and lack of compatibility with 32 bit x86 applications There s just one problem The Itanium still scales to heights that are unheard of in the x64 world and enterprises that need the absolute best performance have no other choice So Microsoft announced this week that it will support the Itanium with Itanium based versions of Longhorn Server which will allegedly ship in 2007 The idea apparently is to prop up the Itanium and show the world that it s still a great processor really Heck Microsoft even purchased 1600 Itanium based servers from HP to drive home the point My understanding is that this purchase doubled the Itanium market share overnight p p Email Users Get Used to Spam br Here s some disturbing news According to a survey by Pew Internet and American Life Project email users in the United States are getting used to spam and are no longer as upset about it as they used to be Fifty three percent of the survey respondents said that they trust email less because of spam but that figure is down from the 62 percent that reported the same a year earlier This shows some level of tolerance that people are manifesting researcher Deborah Fallows said Maybe it s like other annoying things in life air pollution traffic people are just learning to live with it The good news Pornographic spam is on the decline The bad news It s been replaced by dangerous phishing schemes that try to steal credit card numbers and other personal information Isn t that just lovely p p Windows XP Starter Edition Heading to Brazil br After the rampant success of Windows XP Starter Edition ahem in other parts of the world Microsoft will launch a version for Brazil the company said this week The Brazilian version of XP Starter Edition will join other versions that are currently piloting in India Indonesia Malaysia Russia and Thailand and that are being almost totally ignored by local PC makers and users That s too bad really because XP Starter Edition is a great idea I d like to see Microsoft stick with it and expand the offering to other users including those in first world countries such as the United States Trust me A lot of people still need a lot of help with PCs p p AOL Launches Enterprise IM Federation Initiative br I don t know about you but when I think of terms such as enterprise and federation AOL just isn t the first company that comes to mind Indeed it s not even in the top 100 But that didn t stop the company from liberally lobbing those words around this week when it announced the AOL Federation Gateway a new software interface that will translate AOL s proprietary Instant Messaging IM protocols into standardized enterprise based messaging protocols such as Session Initiation Protocol SIP SIP for IM and Presence Leveraging Extensions SIMPLE and Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol XMPP The idea in a nutshell is to let users of AOL Instant Messenger AIM interact with enterprise based IM clients It s sort of like using a Fisher Price play phone to call the president p p Firefox Popularity Continues to Grow at Ever Faster Rates br The number of visitors hitting the Mozilla Foundation s Firefox Web site is 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