Microsoft server ready; are buyers?

Microsoft wants to push itself deeper into the business-computing market with Windows Server 2003, a new line of server software making its debut next month.

But potential customers like Debbie Erickson are too busy to pay much attention.

Erickson, an information-technology manager at the Milliman USA actuarial consulting company based in Seattle, is still only halfway through updating her network to the software Microsoft released three years ago.

Erickson may test a copy of the new server and could install it widely in a few years. For now, though, she's just trying to phase out the circa 1996 Windows software that still runs half of her 45 data-serving network computers.

"It's a major business interruption, a major investment in resources, to convert," she said. "In a seven-by-24 environment especially, there's no downtime to do this just because Microsoft releases a new product. There has to be a business reason."

That's probably something Bill Veghte, the Microsoft executive leading the Windows Server 2003 effort, and his team don't want to hear. But Erickson is not alone. More than a third of the Windows-based servers are still running the NT 4.0 version released in 1996, according to IDC, a market-research company based in Framingham, Mass.

News source: The Seattle Times

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