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Microsoft Previews Products For 2007

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Posted November 7, 2006 By Michael Hickins     Feedback

UPDATED: While the world awaits Vista, Microsoft toasts the arrival of 2007 products at shows around the world.

No need to shake the box. It's another tie.

Microsoft  has unwrapped a sleigh-full of presents for its partners and customers, including enhanced developer tools and new software integrations.

The software tools are intended to help developers write new applications for Vista and the 2007 Office suite.

At its Visual Studio Connections conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft released to manufacturing (RTM) .NET Framework 3.0, which helps programmers build more interactive communication, workflow and online identity management applications.

In other development news from the show, developers can now download beta 2 of ASP.NET AJAX extensions and the Microsoft AJAX Library (previewed a year ago as "Atlas"), a framework allowing developers to work in a Web-based environment.

The software giant also released Visual Studio 2005 tools for Office 2007.

It said it will make Office 2007 and Vista available to premium subscribers of the Microsoft developer network (MSDN) 7 days after release to manufacturing.*

The new Visual Studio 2005 is intended to help programmers write software for six major applications in the 2007 Office system: Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Visio and InfoPath.

Scott Guthrie, general manager of the developer division at Microsoft, said the release of Vista and Office 2007 will allow developers to create more advanced data visualizations and connected line-of-business software.

These are a lot more than add-on accessories. They are a key part of Microsoft's strategy for creating demand for Office 2007 and Windows Vista, which is slated to roll out later this month for consumers.

Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio noted that Microsoft is putting on a full court press "to get all the accompanying and adjunct developer pieces and tools that work with new versions of Windows and Office" in the hands of developers.

"The developer community is crucial to their success. They've recognized that if you don't have applications that support your platform, your platform is not going to thrive, and they cater to [the developers] accordingly," she told internetnews.com.

JupiterKagan analyst Joe Wilcox noted that Microsoft has been trying to turn Office into a platform for years.

"They got started in the right direction with 2003 and now they're trying to go even further down that road with the 2007 product," he told internetnews.com.

Microsoft today announced at the Convergence 2006 EMEA show in Munich that it will release a version of Dynamics CRM adapted for the new releases of Office and Windows.

The version of Dynamics will pick up on the new Ribbon user experience featured in Office 2007, provide greater data visualization and business intelligence tools through Excel and tie in closely with Exchange Server 2007.

The latter integration will allow users to store voice mail messages in Outlook and track them automatically in the Dynamics application.

At its TechEd show in Barcelona, Microsoft said that it will include an enhanced version of Dotfuscator Community Edition in the next major release of Visual Studio, code-named Orcas.

Prashant Sridharan, group product manager in the developer division at Microsoft, noted that obfuscation is a major component of Microsoft's strategy to help developers protect their intellectual property and parry vulnerability probing.

Dotfuscator, developed by PreEmptive Solutions, "represents a significant enhancement to the Visual Studio platform," said Sridharan in a statement.

* Microsoft initially said it would make the download for Office 2007 available immediately, but has since amended that statement. Internetnews.com had erroneously reported that a download of Vista would also be available immediately.

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