According to a report by Microsoft Watch's Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft's message this coming week at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2006 will be "We're turning the corner ... we are heading toward delivery." The message refers to Microsoft's three core products, Windows Vista, Longhorn Server, and Office 2007, all of which will ship in Beta 2 versions during WinHEC. Microsoft will make Windows Vista Beta 2 and Office 2007 Beta 2 available to the public, the first time these products have shipped to large numbers of people.
As is typical for Microsoft, the company's big push will involve demonstrating how these products work especially well with each other. The hope is that Microsoft's biggest corporate customers jump on board for all three products and roll them out nearly simultaneously beginning in 2007. Despite this, the timetable for each product is a bit different. Office 2007 is expected first, but Microsoft will hold off on that product's release until Vista is ready. The company will finish Vista in October 2006, but won't ship it to businesses until November and to consumers until January 2007. Microsoft will only vaguely commit to shipping Longhorn Server sometime in 2007.
Other themes at the show, according to Foley, will be the integrated Windows Office platform, virtualization, and Microsoft's strategies for emerging markets. WinHEC 2006 runs from May 23 through 25 in Seattle, and I'll be covering the show each day here in WinInfo and on the SuperSite for Windows.SuperSite for Windows.