If you were expecting the next major Windows release (code-named Longhorn) sometime next year, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Several Microsoft representatives revealed yesterday that Longhorn won't ship until the second half of 2004--at the earliest. The revelation came on the opening day of the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2002, where Microsoft often discusses future directions and strategies.
Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platform Group, discussed Longhorn during his keynote address. "Longhorn won't ship until beyond 2003," Allchin said. "We're going to synchronize a tremendous amount of technology behind that release. You'll see little pieces of those technologies throughout the show."
Mike Toutonghi, corporate vice president of the Windows eHome Division, was a little more specific about both the Longhorn timeline and the features we can expect in the release. Toutonghi delivered his comments during a Tuesday morning session about new media opportunities and challenges in the connected home. "Longhorn will ship in the second half of 2004," Toutonghi said. "It will deliver the next generation of communications and collaboration experiences, streaming audio/video \[A/V\] functionality, integrated device connectivity, simplified networking, and tools to help Microsoft deliver on our promise of the connected home."
Toutonghi also noted that Longhorn will include improvements in mobility, digital media and entertainment, smart displays (Mira 2.0), A/V streaming and concurrency, and compatibility with new TV/client adapters that will connect next-generation "Media Center" PCs and the "connected-device ecosystem," whatever that is.
Interestingly, Longhorn isn't the only product Microsoft has delayed. Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server), previously scheduled to ship in the last half of 2002, won't actually ship to customers until early 2003.