Why Microsoft Pulled WinFS as a Stand-Alone Product

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-06-27 Print this article Print

Q&A: Corey Thomas, the group product manager for SQL Server, explains why Microsoft decided not to pursue the previously planned separate delivery of WinFS.

Microsoft took many by surprise when it announced in a blog post on June 23 that it is not pursuing the previously planned separate delivery of WinFS or the second beta for the product.

Corey Thomas, the group product manager for SQL Server, explained to eWEEK Senior Editor Peter Galli the rationale behind this decision and why Microsoft believes it is good for most of its customers, partners and developers.

Can you explain the enormous discrepancy between all the information about WinFS that was shared just two weeks ago at Microsoft's TechEd conference, including talk of a second beta for the product, and this latest announcement that you are not pursuing a separate delivery of WinFS, including the previously planned Beta 2?

The presenters at TechEd were operating in good faith. The decision to do this was actually only made late last week. Even though we had major discussions at TechEd, we wanted to get this latest information out to our customers and partners as soon as possible, even though we knew we would take a bit of a knock for having one conversation at TechEd and then announcing the changes in the ship vehicle a couple of weeks later.

So, what you are saying is that the presenters at TechEd knew these changes were under consideration but that no final decision had been made?

The decision was only made after TechEd. But everyone has always known that SQL Server was part of the data platform strategy and they were working closely with the SQL Server team and that has been an ongoing discussion.

Click here to read more about what Microsoft had to about the future of WinFS at TechEd 2006.

What they didn't know was that a couple of weeks later we would make a decision to change the ship vehicle strategy. That decision was only made late last week.

Tell me why that decision was made and what the basis in thinking is for it.

We have talked a lot recently about our data platform vision strategy and one of the big things that Paul Flessner [Microsoft's senior vice president for server applications] had started talking about a couple of months ago was our data platform vision and that had a couple of pillars behind it. One of those was the idea of all data and going beyond just relational data and helping customers get more value from their structured and unstructured information assets. We also looked at other things around cost, complexity, TCO and business intelligence.

The thing that shocked us a little bit was the overwhelming positive response we got from customers to the idea of how best to manage this growing volume of structured and unstructured data. As we took a harder look at the feedback and how best to bring this to market and execute on it, it became increasingly clear that leveraging a lot of the more mature incubation technologies inside of WinFS was going to help us deliver on that promise and goal.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Why Microsoft Pulled WinFS as a Stand-Alone Product

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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