Originally due for release in the first half of 2002, Windows .net's release date has been pushed back as the company conducts a security audit of its software and processes through a strategy dubbed "trustworthy computing".
As an interim step until the release of the new operating system, the company has begun shipping Windows 2000 Datacenter Limited Edition, a version of the Windows 2000 server operating system that includes a number of .net enhancements. This system is being positioned by the software giant as a stepping stone to move users on to .net technology.
In the past few weeks the company has made security a cornerstone of its product development. Last week, Stuart Okin, Microsoft's UK chief security officer, said, "We will implement security over [new] features."
Commenting on the delay of Windows .net, Gary Barnett, an analyst at Ovum, said, "There is no doubt that Microsoft has to take security seriously, both publicly and privately."
Simon Moores, chairman of the Microsoft Forums user association, said, "If Microsoft is fully committed to trustworthy computing then the development [of new software] will be delayed."
Moores added that Microsoft faces an enormous challenge in managing the integrity of its software. "To deliver on its [security] promise, Windows needs to be totally re-engineered," he said.
Moores said that one of the problems with Windows is the way updates to the operating system are handled. From his own experience, when loaded, these updates often result in side effects that cause previously working parts of the system to fail.
Along with the operating system, Microsoft appears to have pushed back the shipping dates for other .net server software that rely on Windows .net.
At the end of January, Bill Baker, general manager of Microsoft's SQL Server Business Intelligence Unit, said the next release of the company's relational database would not be available until 2003.
As a stopgap the company has made available some of the XML tools that will ship in that version. The release of Visual Studio .net in February included SQL XML 3.0, a new component of SQL Server that allows users to build database functions as Web services.