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The Next Windows Server: Not .Net

Microsoft has removed the .Net Server name from the forthcoming release of its server product. Why change the name after all the fuss and hype associated with the .Net label? Officially, Microsoft is "cleaning up naming conventions," but there's more to it than that.

Here's a quote from the company's Web site: "Windows Server 2003 will carry the '.Net Connected' logo, indicating its ability to easily and consistently connect disparate information, systems and devices, thereby enabling customers to meet their specific business needs (regardless of their system's underlying platform or programming language)."

It's a smart business move to separate the Windows name from the .Net name: Monopolies rarely enjoy significant gains in market share--a monopoly already owns most of the market. Distancing .Net from Windows puts Microsoft in a position to grow in a market it is far from monopolizing: interoperable, platform-independent software and development tools.

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And Microsoft might finally be willing to play nice with other OSs. The phrase "regardless of their system's underlying platform or programming language" is used repeatedly in Microsoft's press materials and on its Web site. It's a message the company wants you to hear loudly and clearly.