Catching the Desktop Train
Microsoft is readying two major end-user products, Vista and Office 2007, to roll on through by the end of 2006.
- By Scott Bekker
- April 01, 2006
There's an opportunity train coming down the tracks in Windows
Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 later this year. Will you be ready?
The two products are the major moneymakers in Microsoft's lineup,
and they're gathering steam. In recent months, Microsoft went through
two key pre-delivery routines. One was unveiling the packaging of
the products. The Windows Vista operating system will come in Home
Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, Ultimate and Starter
editions. Office 2007 editions will include Enterprise, Professional,
Professional Plus, Small Business, Standard, Home, Student and Basic.
Microsoft went one better with Office, providing prices for most of the packages. It's very early in the release cycle for a pricing announcement, given that the products aren't planned to ship until
late this year.
The other pre-delivery routine is broad public testing of pre-release
code. For Vista, Community Technology Previews (CTPs) replaced betas. The company cycled
through CTPs aimed at partners and the enterprise with the consumer-focused
CTP right around the corner. On the Office side, a technical beta
went out in November, with the main beta pending at press time.
The CTPs and betas aren't exactly on an authoritarian train schedule.
After committing to a monthly CTP late last year, Microsoft slipped
into a less predictable quality-bar approach for Vista CTPs. Still,
few seriously believe Microsoft will miss this ship date. Too much
of the high-tech economy is banking on Vista driving a consumer
computer-buying binge this holiday shopping season.
Which is where you come in. Launches of major products like Windows
and Office require the full engagement of Microsoft's partner machinery.
The partner engine started humming last year for independent hardware vendors. The
momentum kept building early this year as independent software vendors
began attending "Touchdown" and other ISV events. In the next few
months, all resellers and integrators will be ushered aboard for
The Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston this July should be
a key event, where resellers and integrators will get the goods
on opportunities and possibilities in the new products, and maybe
even a few hints on how Windows "Longhorn" Server and
the next version of Exchange will fit in. Leading up to the show,
Microsoft plans to make training resources available online for
sales, marketing and technical types alike to begin learning the
ins and outs of the new desktop products. The company also encourages
Certified and Gold Certified Partners to load, test and evaluate
preview releases of the new products. Microsoft partner officials
note that the slow summer months tend to be a great time for partners
to get up to speed on new technology.
We're eager to know your plans. Will you have online training in
June? Create Word 2007 docs in July? Build out Vista test networks
in August? Do nothing? Write me at [email protected].
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.