Thanks to Phil Grigson for this tip: After weeks of dismissing queries about its next-generation software-development toolkit, Microsoft has quietly released Visual Studio .NET. Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers at the Professional level and above can download various versions of the product from the Microsoft Web site effective immediately, and Microsoft will publicly launch Visual Studio .NET next month at a developer trade show.

Visual Studio .NET is a comprehensive suite of development tools that includes Visual Basic .NET, Visual C++ .NET, and Visual C# .NET. Microsoft designed the product specifically for creating .NET Web services based on XML, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and related technologies.

Visual Studio .NET will ship in Professional, Enterprise Developer, and Enterprise Architect editions. MSDN subscribers who want to download the suite can visit the MSDN Subscriber Downloads Web site.