Microsoft ended a couple years of speculation today about the roadmap for the Longhorn desktop OS by declaring 2006 as its release year.
That's a big target. To hit it, Redmond has severed key features from the next-generation client operating system, planning to deliver them separately and later. For the Windows "Longhorn" Server operating system, Microsoft is shooting for 2007.
Longhorn development has slipped in the past year, especially as developers were working to prepare Windows XP Service Pack 2, which began its release this week. Microsoft's Chairman Bill Gates has said that the company diverted significant resources from development of its next version of Windows to the creation of SP2 in order to address security problems in current software releases.