Windows .Net Server now due in mid-2003

The middle of next year is Microsoft Corp.’s latest target release date for its new server operating system, called Windows .Net Server, as the company focuses on the product’s security, a Microsoft official said Wednesday.

“We have security as the number one priority, so that (release) date is totally security driven. We’ve established security checks all along the way,” said Enrique Murray, Microsoft’s Latin America marketing manager.

Windows .Net Server was scheduled to ship in the first half of 2002, but in March Microsoft announced it would instead ship in the second half of this year.

“(Mid-2003) is the target, but as always security will drive the final decision,” Murray said, speaking by phone from the company’s annual Latin America Enterprise Solutions Conference, being held in Boca Raton, Fla., through Friday.

Security problems have been an ongoing issue with Microsoft products. In January, Bill Gates, the company’s chairman and chief software architect, launched an initiative at Microsoft to improve the security of its products.

“Now, when we face a choice between adding features and resolving security issues, we need to choose security,” he said in a written statement at the time.

Windows .Net Server will be an upgrade to the server version of Windows 2000. As in the case of Windows 2000, there will be several flavors of Windows .Net Server, according to the Microsoft Web site: Windows .Net Web Server for Web serving and hosting; Windows .Net Standard Server for “everyday needs of businesses of all sizes,” such as file and printer sharing and Internet connectivity; Windows .Net Enterprise Server for more advanced tasks such as enterprise applications and Web services; and Windows .Net Datacenter Server for higher-end applications.

Areas in which Microsoft has promised an improvement in Windows .Net Server over the server version of Windows 2000 include the Active Directory, clustering capabilities, security features and systems management.