The President's Message

December 2003

David Harris

After seeing such a great presentation of the new Microsoft Office 2003, I thought you would like to know a little about what is coming from Microsoft in operating systems. Bill Gates recently offered a peek at the next incarnation of Microsoft's next windows operating system code named "Longhorn."

Longhorn is billed as the biggest operating system upgrade since Windows 95 by Microsoft, whose software runs more than 90 percent of the world's desktop computers. The company plans to release an initial beta version in the second half of 2004, but analysts predict the final version probably won't emerge until 2006. Many of the improvements in Longhorn will occur behind the Scenes.

A unified file storage system will allow users to search for information regardless of whether it resides in e-mail, spreadsheets or word-processing documents. A user could search, for example, by author or protect.

Another new feature in the works is a vertical panel on the side of the screen that could include essential information at a glance, such as the time and date, instant-messenger buddy hats, links to favored Web sites or updated stock prices.

Longhorn's graphics would be more sophisticated, with windows that can turn transparent when pushed aside and better means for previewing documents, even those with video incorporated.

Microsoft plans to add peer-to-peer networking technologies to let coworkers, for example send documents to each other that they can jointly view and annotate. Microsoft is banking on significant improvements in computer processing power by 2006 for many of Longhorn's features. For one thing, new chips would help boost security by allowing computers to handle confidential documents in an isolated part of the computer. Security is a major concern for Microsoft.