Why Microsoft Pulled WinFS as a Stand-Alone Product

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 06-27-2006

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