The product now has as many names under its belt as proposed ship dates, leaving the product and its launch date as hard to follow as a daytime soap opera.
Last week, Microsoft renamed its Windows .Net Server 2003, cutting out what Microsoft admitted was a confusing .Net reference. It's now simply Windows Server 2003.
The change was just one in a relatively long line of aliases. The successor to Windows 2000 Server, the software started out several years ago with the codename Whistler. The company then named it Windows 2002 Server back in the spring of 2001, delaying its shipment until early in 2002. Then later in 2001, Microsoft changed the name to Windows .Net Server, linking the software up with its .Net product line and marketing campaign. But in 2002, Microsoft delayed the release again, forcing them to rename the product once again -- this time lauding it as Windows .Net Server 2003. It was scheduled for release late last year. In November, Microsoft delayed the release again.
''Microsoft is making an overall effort to clarify the naming and branding strategy around .Net,'' says a Microsoft spokesman. ''Windows Server 2003 is one of the first products to reflect this new approach.''
Analysts have long complained that Microsoft's .Net strategy was unclear and poorly articulated, leaving customers and partners confused as to the company's strategy and up-coming product line.