Windows Longhorn Server and Windows Vista really need to be homeruns for Microsoft. Failures here could open the floodgates for them to lose market share to other open source server alternatives.
Microsoft is under attack and they need a hit with Longhorn to keep the wolves at bay. Many companies are challenging the company in every market and it will take fortitude to stave off the competition with innovation and security to continue to rise to the top.
The Longhorn product line will be a very secure release and will eliminate most of the malware and phishing garbage that plagues user desktops at the core. This time around, their success comes from design. They are not designing software and then fixing security issues. They are designing software with security on the forefront of the design.
When you design a product with security in mind, you will have a secure release; a release all IT organizations will be proud of. If Microsoft had done this with the Windows Server 2000 product line, they would not be under attack from so many companies fighting for leadership in the market.
Why Not, It's Free
Open source is a challenge to Microsoft as well with its volunteer base of developers that churn out code, and fix bugs and security issues faster than the Microsofties. To further the cause, IBM, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems and other large corporate behemoths are backing the open source movement with an influx of cash in hope of dethroning the Redmond Giant. To add to the fire, many venture capitalists are investing loads of cash into opens source startups.
All of this spells trouble for Microsoft.
Linux, for example, is touted as more secure and stable than Microsoft products. Well, I am here to say, not for long. Longhorn Server and Windows Vista will surprise the masses.
These next two-to-three years will be very important to Microsoft. Just as IBM became vulnerable in the 90s, Microsoft is vulnerable in the new millennium.
Vulnerable does not mean defeated (their software is run by roughly 90% of all computers in the entire world). But for them to remain dominant, they need huge successes with their future products.
Why does all this matter to you?
As a decision maker in your company, you need to be aware that Microsofts upcoming Longhorn server product line is going to be a huge success, so dont let the naysayers steer you off course. Youve stuck with Microsoft this long through the badwhy not stay with them in the future through all the good?
Steven Warren is an IT consultant for the Ultimate Software Group and a freelance technical writer who has been a regular contributor to TechRepublic, TechProGuild, CNET, ZDNET, DatabaseJournal.com and, now, CIO Update. He is the author of "The VMware Workstation 5.0 Handbook" and holds the following certifications: MCDBA, MCSE, MCSA, CCA, CIW-SA, CIW-MA, Network+, and i-Net+.