WinFS Decision Shows New Thinking At Microsoft - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


WinFS Decision Shows New Thinking At Microsoft

Microsoft's decision to kill plans to ship its next-generation file system as a standalone application probably reflects changes in the software giant.

From a technical standpoint, Microsoft Corp.'s decision to kill plans to ship its next-generation file system as a standalone application probably won't have much impact on customers, but the move reflects changes in the software giant that are both welcome and troubling.

The company announced late Friday in a blog on its developer network that pieces of WinFS, which is available as a beta 1 release, would become part of the next version of the SQL Server database, code named Katmai; and the evolving ADO.Net, which is basically Microsoft's programming interface for data access.

WinFS was originally set to be a technology pillar within Longhorn, the codename for what became Windows Vista. In 2004, Microsoft surprised customers with the decision to ship WinFS separate from Longhorn.

The latest announcement is not expected to affect customers on a technical level, because the data store technology will eventually find its way in products. In addition, the search capabilities and file system in Vista, as seen through its current beta release, is expected to be good enough.

"WinFS has long been a solution in search of a problem," David Smith, analyst for Gartner Inc., said Monday. "Vista beta has reasonably robust search. It's good enough, which is what people were looking for."

The loss of WinFS as a single deliverable was also not a big surprise. After it was removed from Longhorn, Gartner predicted that there was a 30 percent chance that the technology wouldn't ship at all.

For at least one expert, what was more troubling about the WinFS decision was how the announcement was made. Microsoft publicized the move in a blog posted late Friday when it would likely be missed by many business technology reporters and analysts.

"We're seeing a new aggressive push on the part of Microsoft in the use of blogs as a PR mechanism," Joe Wilcox, analyst for JupiterResearch, said. "It's a very effective mechanism for taking tight PR control over potentially hazardous announcements."

The tactic helps mitigate negative coverage by making it less likely it'll appear the next day on the front page of daily newspapers' business sections.

"The news will come out in spurts, and the big dailies may overlook it all together," Wilcox said. "By Monday, it becomes old news."

This is not the first time Microsoft has made a big announcement through a late Friday blog. Two weeks ago, Microsoft took a similar approach in announcing that WinFX would become version 3.0 of .Net Framework, the development platform shipping with Vista. WinFX is the programming interface for Vista.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Top 10 Data and Analytics Trends for 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  11/13/2020
Where Cloud Spending Might Grow in 2021 and Post-Pandemic
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  11/19/2020
The Ever-Expanding List of C-Level Technology Positions
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  11/10/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Why Chatbots Are So Popular Right Now
In this IT Trend Report, you will learn more about why chatbots are gaining traction within businesses, particularly while a pandemic is impacting the world.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll