Problems Overhauling Visual BasicVisual Basic was the single most popular development tool for the previous generation of Microsoft developers. The transition to its successor, Visual Basic .NET was not without some problems. The architects of Visual Basic changed many aspects of the language including even the fundamental semantics that had been constant since the language was first released 12 years ago. When Microsoft released an early Beta version of Visual Basic .NET, it changed how developers used the boolean operators for True and False. The outcries from the development community caused this new method to be withdrawn in the next Beta release. It is still the case, however, that virtually every Visual Basic program needs to be rewritten to run under Visual Basic .NET.
Version ConfusionAn issue that development companies complain about today is which version of .NET they should support in their software. There are now three different versions of .NET each with a different set of features: 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0. Version 1.0 is the most widely deployed, being accessible on Windows 2000 and up. Version 1.1 has more features, comes included with Windows XP and Server 2003 but is not as widely deployed. Version 2.0 will be released from Beta in the next few months. Some companies have taken the more cautious strategy of writing their .NET code to support only the features provided in .NET 1.0. This cautious adoption provides maximum compatibility but could slow the adoption of subsequent versions of .NET.
SummarySeldom does one see a corporate vision with the breadth and depth of Microsoft .NET. It had to be large enough to encompass the entire operating systems division as well as both the enterprise and tools divisions. It had to be tactile enough to counter the disruptive technologies of Java and Linux and strategic enough to counter the enterprise offerings of Microsoft's fierce competitors. Microsoft put its well-practiced marketing methods to good use with its usual promotional activities and did so in a grand scale and a well-orchestrated manner.
Microsoft has shown that its strengths are not in introducing innovative technologies or revolutionary products. Its strengths lie in its ability to pick and choose technologies and products from the marketplace, to integrate them into its own product lineup and to execute brilliant market strategies against its competitors. Microsoft has shown yet again how it can formulate a strategy across a large part of its product lineup and successfully achieve that strategy.
Timeline of .NET
June, 2000 - Microsoft announces its .NET vision of future computing
July, 2000 - VB.NET Beta is released
November, 2000 - Visual Studio Beta 1 is released
March, 2001 - Hailstorm is announced and showcases partners
March, 2001 - eBay announces its intent to use .NET and Passport
September, 2001 - Passport is expanded to allow internet single sign on
January, 2002 - .NET 1.0 is released to public, Visual Studio .NET development tools
April, 2002 - Hailstorm (aka .NET My Services) is cancelled
August, 2002 - Microsoft settles with FTC regarding poor security and privacy for Passport
January, 2003 - Windows .NET is renamed as Windows Server 2003
April, 2003 - .NET 1.1, Visual Studio 2003, Windows Server 2003 (aka Windows .NET) is released
August, 2004 - Microsoft demotes Passport to be an internal product only
Summer, 2005 - .NET 2.0, Visual Studio 2005 to be released
2006 - Anticipated Longhorn server release
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Hunter, Chad, Personal Email, 12/7/2004
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Mohr, Jakki, "Marketing of High Technology Products and Innovations", 2nd Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004
Pressman, Aaron and Keith Perine, "Legal storm brewing over Microsoft's HailStorm", The Industry Standard, March 20, 2001, http://www.infoworld.com/articles /hn/xml/01/03/20/010320hnmicsun.html?0320alert
Wong, Wylie, "Microsoft reveals plans for Web-based software services", June 22, 2000, http://news.com.com/2100-1001-242273.html?legacy=cnet
Microsoft Settles FTC Charges Alleging False Security and Privacy Promises, August 8, 2002, http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2002/08/microsoft.htm
About the Author
Andrew Hudson is a graduate student at the University of Tampa’s Technology and Innovation Management Master’s program (MS TIM). He has a degree in computer science from Rochester Institute of Technology and is currently an IT consultant in Tampa, FL. Ahudson.email@example.com.
Special thanks to David Chappell and Chad Hunter for providing their insights. Thanks to Dr. Glen Taylor for the New Products class that inspired this article
Copyright © Andrew Hudson, 2004, All Rights Reserved
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