After facing down the financially troubled 2002 in fine form, Microsoft is looking ahead to 2003, a year in which the company will unleash an unprecedented collection of desktop and server software and services. In 2003, Microsoft will enter what it calls the Microsoft .NET release phase, which follows the Windows XP release cycle and precedes the Yukon (the next version of SQL Server technology) phase. During the .NET phase, the company will release Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003 and a host of other products that are based on its long-awaited .NET technologies.

Notable software releases in 2003 will include Visual Studio .NET 2003 (code-named Everett); Office 11, the next generation of Office; Exchange 2003 Server (code-named Titanium); Jupiter, the consolidated e-business server; SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit); various XML-based Web services about which the company isn't giving details at this time; SharePoint Team Services 2.0, which will ship at the same time as Office 11; XDocs, an integrated Office 11 component for interacting with server-side data by using XML; MSN Messenger Connect for enterprises, an Instant Messaging (IM) solution for businesses; Greenwich, the Windows Messenger or Real-time Communications (RTC) server product; an update to the Microsoft .NET Speech platform, including a new software development kit (SDK) and mobile extensions; and a new release of Windows Automotive, the company's telematics software platform.

In addition to the products Microsoft is now publicly discussing, in 2003 the company will launch a Digital Rights Management (DRM) server; Small Business Server (SBS) 2003; a crucial Win.NET Server add-in called the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC); and other tools, applications, servers, and services. Microsoft will also upgrade XP to Service Pack 2 (SP2) as the company continues its long march toward Longhorn, the next major Windows revision. And throughout 2003, expect Yukon beta releases, which will usher the company into its next software-release phase.