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Microsoft Ships Commerce Server 2007, But Road Map Remains Unclear

Microsoft is getting a little--but not much--clearer about its Commerce Server plans in the wake of Commerce Server 2007's shipment on Tuesday.

The next step is to tailor the offering for small- and midsize businesses and hosting partners, said Brian Goldfarb, lead product manager for Microsoft's Web Platform and Tools team. How that will be packaged and delivered will be settled in the next 18 months or so, he said.

"We will focus on building the core commerce infrastructure, the basic functionality that everyone needs to take advantage of e-commerce--the shopping cart, the catalog--and tailor it for SMBs and shared hosting companies," Goldfarb said. "Nobody in this space is doing that today." Commerce Server competes with offerings from ATG and IBM.

Whether that core capability will show up in a successor server SKU or be delivered via the platform--within ASP.Net or BizTalk Server, for example--remains unclear. Both options are possible, Goldfarb said.

Still, he came close to promising a successor Commerce Server SKU for high-value functions needed by enterprises that go beyond those core deliverables. "There is early thinking about how to make the marketing engines better, to make the custom experience, BI [business intelligence] and optimization better," Goldfarb told CRN.

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