MS .net in its infancy warns Gartner

Research company Gartner Group has poured cold water on Microsoft's ambitious .net initiative.

Research company Gartner Group has poured cold water on Microsoft's ambitious .net initiative.

Analyst Tom Bittman described .net as "still a vision". He said, "It has some details, but at this point there are a lot of gaps to fill."

Other analysts, speaking at Gartner's annual Windows conference in Los Angeles last week, extinguished much of the hype surrounding what they called a "remarkably confusing" marketing blitz for .net.

Microsoft's .net initiative is a broad project through which the company hopes to provide tools, software and services that will help to turn the Internet into a giant network for delivering applications and services to all kinds of devices - from PCs to mobile phones.

But with Microsoft facing a number of potential speed bumps, ranging from increased competition to the outcome of its anti-trust appeal, Gartner warned IT managers not to expect its Web services model to become a reality too soon.

"This is, fundamentally, a brand new platform," said Gartner analyst Mark Driver.

The migration to .net appears to be more drastic than the switch from MS-Dos to Windows, he added. "The tiger is changing its stripes."

However, analysts did say that as the world of Web services inches nearer, Microsoft will face many important product releases - as well as changes to its business structure - that IT managers using Microsoft products should prepare for.

Gartner added that .net's success will depend on Microsoft's ability to attract support from other large IT industry players and to deliver its product roadmap.

After the unveiling of .net last year Microsoft launched its first products under the .net brand with its latest line of enterprise servers, including Biztalk and SQL servers.

Codenamed "blackcomb", Microsoft alluded to the launch of a new operating system and software sometime late in 2003. It will be the first operating system tied into the .net framework.

"This is where things really get fuzzy," said Neil MacDonald, a Gartner analyst covering Microsoft. "Blackcomb is basically the bucket for everything that doesn't get into XP [the desktop software suite due for release on 31 May]."

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