Microsoft Corp. on Friday said it has scaled back the next major release of the Windows operating system, code-named Longhorn, opting to drop the next-generation file system, so it can ship the OS in 2006.
Without the much-anticipated Windows File System, the client version of Longhorn is not expected to be a revolutionary change over Windows XP, or a must-have for businesses, which considered WinFS and its search capabilities a major innovation, Rob Helm, analyst for Directions on Microsoft, said.
"It's good news and bad news," Helm said of the announcement. "The good news is scaling back the operating system means it's more likely to show up in 2006, which means we will see the benefits sooner and developers will get applications out there sooner.
"The bad news is WinFS was probably the one Longhorn feature that really appealed to businesses and corporations," Helm said. "Microsoft is going to have to focus on consumers and convince them that Longhorn is worth the cost of a new PC or Windows upgrade."
Making Longhorn even less compelling for business is Microsoft's decision, also announced Friday, to ship the operating system's developer-targeted components separately in 2006, so they can also be used on older versions of the OS, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.