Microsoft unveils datacenter software

By : |September 27, 2000 0

By Duncan Martell

SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft Corporation on Tuesday took the wraps off its much-anticipated Windows 2000 Datacenter Server and introduced a slew of new products, partners and customers as it steps up efforts to compete against arch rivals Sun Microsystems Inc. and Oracle Corporation.

“This is the start of a new era of competition between Microsoft and Sun,” Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told Reuters in an interview ahead of his speech here later this afternoon. This “will actually start to erode the size of the market Sun plays in.” The world’s biggest software maker said on August 11 that it had finished work on its top-of-the-line version of Microsoft’s family of operating systems for corporate computer networks and had sent it to manufacturers. It went on sale on Tuesday.

Microsoft also announced new software programmes to help companies do business over the Internet and to set up electronic commerce Web sites. The products include SQL Server 2000, Exchange 2000 Server and Host Integration Server 2000, among others. In addition to Sun, Microsoft – with the improved SQL Server 2000 database programme – is also going more aggressively after Oracle, the biggest maker of database software.

The eight products – some of which were late – Microsoft announced on Tuesday, including some that will not be available until 2001, are part of Microsoft’s .NET strategy, its effort to integrate more of its products with the Internet. The .NET plan is aimed at allowing computer users to swap data seamlessly among different devices, a capability that is becoming more important as people use everything from cell phones to televisions to surf the Web and store data.

“We’re doing well in the enterprise,” Ballmer said, referring to sales of its software to big businesses, adding that “we clearly have upside.” Microsoft also said that powerful computer servers designed to run Windows 2000 Datacenter Server including Amdahl, Compaq Computer Corp. , Dell Computer Corp. , Fujitsu Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co. , Hitachi, International Business Machines Corp. and Unisys Corp. .

The Redmond, Wash.-based company also announced what it calls its Mobile Information 2001 Server that when available will let communications carriers and big business customers deliver real-time mobile data services securely from behind corporate firewalls to personal digital assistants and the like.

The announcement came as the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Microsoft on Tuesday, agreeing with the company that its appeal of antitrust violations should first be heard by a lower appellate court. Microsoft had asked the Supreme Court to let the case be heard first by the Court of Appeals, while the Justice Department argued for a speedy decision directly from the high court, which has never ruled on the case.

Ballmer said in the interview that he remained “confident” his company would ultimately prevail on appeal. “Having this hang over our heads is not good for us or consumers, and we’re happy to get on with it,” Ballmer said.

(C) Reuters Limited 2000.

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