Microsoft: Longhorn goes to pieces

Microsoft is designing its ever-present Windows operating system to streamline and lower the cost of building and distributing the software. The next major client version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, will be designed as a series of components that Microsoft can easily combine and tailor for different markets and computing hardware, according to company executives. That's a break from the company's long-held strategy of building several similar, yet distinct, operating systems positioned for specific purposes and geographic areas.

The change will simplify the process, and hence cut the costs associated with building Windows PCs or issuing software patches, according to Mark Myers, OEM manufacturing program manager at Microsoft. Longhorn is expected to debut in 2005, and will be the successor to Windows XP. It is expected to include better graphics, a redesigned storage system and a new look and feel.

Microsoft will also ship the same version of the OS to PC manufacturers and one to retail. Currently, the Windows CD that Microsoft includes in boxes sold at retail differs, albeit only slightly, from the one that PC makers receive. Having two versions "causes on the back end a lot more time and resources" at Microsoft, Myers said at a speech at a company-sponsored conference last month.

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News source: ZDNet

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