Microsoft announced its pricing and licensing strategy for Visual Studio 2005 yesterday, while subtly delaying the release of the next-generation software development platform--and its Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database server--until the second half of 2005. Both products were most recently due in mid-2005, according to statements the company has made. They will ship in tandem, Microsoft says.
  
With Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft is introducing a vast range of product editions, each of which concentrates on particular types of developers. The company will also offer a new Visual Studio 2005 Team System, which is designed for application lifestyle management, to subscribers of the upcoming Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Premium membership and will cut the cost of Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition. 
  
"With Visual Studio 2005 Team System, Microsoft introduces features and technologies to support application development through all phases of the software life cycle, from development to deployment," S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, said. "In addition, more accessible tools pricing for small businesses and simplification of MSDN subscription levels for our enterprise customers will enable Microsoft to deliver a complete development platform to satisfy developers at all levels."
  
Just trying to keep track of all the Visual Studio 2005 editions is painful. At the high end of the spectrum, Visual Studio 2005 Team Edition will start at $3191 and will include the upcoming MSDN Premium subscription. A server-based Team Edition offering, called Foundation Server, will cost $2799. And Team Suite, which combines Team Edition with Foundation Server, will cost $6382 and will include the MSDN Premium subscription.
  
Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition will cost $799 ($549 for upgrades). Other products in the Visual Studio 2005 product line include Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System ($799; $549 for the upgrade version), Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition ($299; $199 for the upgrade version), and various Visual Studio Express products, which will cost $49 each. Visual Studio Express products include Visual Basic 2005 Express, Visual C# 2005 Express, Visual C++ 2005 Express, Visual J# 2005 Express, and Visual Web Dev 2005 Express. A product called SQL Server 2005 Express will also be available, for free, when SQL Server 2005 ships later this year.