Microsoft admits failure to deliver

Microsoft has slammed its XP operating system admitting to hardware developers in Seattle that the company has failed to deliver by not "thinking through end-to-end scenarios."

The software giant's apparent gaffe appears to be a reverse strategy to switch the spotlight onto new capabilities available only through its Longhorn OS, due for release late next year.

The disclosure came in a speech by a Microsoft Vice President, who effectively badmouthed the company's form on networking and hardware support for its latest version of Windows.

"In the past we really have not taken as systematic approach as we should have," Jawad Khaki VP for Windows told hardware developers on a debate about Longhorn's interoperability.

"We put things together not really thinking through the end-to-end scenarios and this is why at times we have failed to deliver."

According to IDG, the Microsoft boss immediately added that the forthcoming Longhorn OS would provide users with next generation software and architecture for "seamless connectivity."

The VP's comments provide a stark contrast to the language and tone of comments used by Microsoft's chief software architect Bill Gates.

In his keynote address to the Windows Engineering Conference (WinHEC), Sir Bill said that the Windows platform is "the most important tool that's ever been created."

"It's driven more communications and productivity than any other," he told an audience of 2,800 engineers, developers and technology enthusiasts.

Yet elsewhere in the chairman's keynote address, there were signs of support for his VP's strategy that suggested the 20-year old Windows system would indeed be bettered by the forthcoming version.

"The next decade will bring about a new wave of innovation in the technology industry through the increased security, greater reliability and faster performance enabled by 64-bit computing and continued advances in Windows," Gates said.

"'Longhorn' and the new x64-bit versions of Windows are the best foundation for a new generation of faster, more powerful hardware and software that expands the possibilities for computing and transforms the way we work and play."

Also on show at the conference to help developers design compatible products were new support technologies such as Windows Connect Now, Web services for devices and a new framework for Qwave.

During a wireless demonstration of Windows Connect Now, Microsoft programmers revealed how normal practice to set up a Web browser is replaced in Longhorn by pop-up wizards.

Additional hardware can then be added to the network by connecting it directly to the router, which will pop up a similar wizard, designed to help users make correct and automatic choices for their systems.

Elsewhere at WinHEC, Microsoft unveiled their next generation blueprint for the modern-day PC, saying their goal was to get the ubiquitous device "much closer to the utility of a mobile phone."

In light of this and ever mindful of gains made by Apple's compact PCs, Microsoft said their hardware vision for the future was to develop the "ultraportable" PC that would end perceptions of computers as large, inert machines that need to sit on a desk.

Instead the smaller breed of computer will hit the mainstream in 2008, and concentrate on providing the consumer with an instantly useable, always connected, 7-inch wide screen PC.

Already these features are available on Microsoft's prototype Tablet PC, which Gates showed off to inspire developers to aim for a more natural computing experience that can make information easier to access.

Such devices would require no keyboard or mouse.

The "ultra-mobile" Tablet is planned for commercial release in 2007, when the device will offer updates on the status of the PC while the machine is off or the lid of a mobile PC is closed.

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