Microsoft verified reports that it pushed back the release of Windows XP's expected successor, code-named Blackcomb, and will develop an intermediate release, code-named Longhorn. Microsoft intends Blackcomb to be a major Windows release with the full .NET User Experience and integration with various Web services. The company realized that it couldn't hit the original late-2002 release for such an ambitious product, so Longhorn (with an expected release date in late 2002 or early 2003) will fill the gap. Blackcomb will follow in 2003 or 2004.
According to reports, planning for Longhorn began in May when the XP development process started winding down. Some industry analysts speculated that Longhorn would be a no-frills XP version designed to appease regulators, but Microsoft refuted that notion. "The plans have nothing to do with some scaled-down version of XP concerning anything to do with settlement or antitrust issues," said Microsoft Platforms Group Vice President Jim Allchin