Microsoft has posted no fewer than eight press releases to its Web site for journalists this morning. Let's sort through them and see if there's anything interesting:
-- More open-source collaboration news. This time, Microsoft is teaming up with Linux distributor Xandros of New Yorky. Xandros distributes open-source software for managing data centers. The deal is similar to the one Microsoft struck with Novell last November. Mary Jo Foley sorts out the details and implications for the ongoing tension over Microsoft's assertions that open-source software violates more than 200 of its patents.
-- Microsoft is getting deeper into the music promotion business with a new program called Ignition for emerging artists. It is packaging monthlong ad campaigns -- including free song downloads, custom playlists, promotional videos and artist commentary -- on its sites related to the Zune music player, Xbox Live and MSN entertainment. Not clear what this costs the artists or record labels involved.
-- There's also a raft of announcements coming out of Microsoft's TechEd conference for developers and IT professionals in Orlando, Fla. It got under way this morning with a keynote presentation from Bob Muglia, Microsoft's server and tools boss.
Among the jaw-droppers (OK, not really), Microsoft is calling the next version of its business data server SQL Server 2008. It was code-named Katmai. A community technology preview version can be had here.
Also, Microsoft is acquiring the code base for Dundas Software's Data Visualization products designed to let people create better looking reports using business data stored on Microsoft SQL Server.
The next version of Microsoft's software development tools will be known as Visual Studio 2008. This product was previously code-named Orcas. A second beta release is due later this summer.
In a nod to the growing importance of consumer-style Web-based services in the business world, Microsoft announced that its Web application development and hosting technology, Internet Information Services 7, will be part of the forthcoming Windows Server 2008 core installation option. This Q&A with Server Division general manager Bill Laing has the nitty-gritty.
Those are the big items from TechEd. This link has Microsoft's rundown of the announcements.
-- Microsoft took another step in its business-security strategy -- and onto the toes of vendors Symantec and McAfee -- with the announcement of Stirling, the code name for the next product in its Forefront line. The company has launched 10 separate products in the last year. Stirling is intended to be a "unified product that will provide comprehensive protection across client, server applications and network edge from a single management console." A "limited beta" of the software is due later this year.