While catching up on some old weblog posts, something triggered a thought. As I mentioned before
, Balmer promised to keep product groups pumping out releases. Specifically, he said there would be no more 5 year gaps between releases. There wasn't much said beyond that, so what will really change is still up in the air. My guess is that we'll get more info on this a few months after the Vista release or, worse yet, after the Longhorn release. To get to the point, my worry is that all these CTPs and betas are going to be included in that promise. If they are, not much will change from today. Granted, a lot of things have changed over the years, so it's better, but my hope is that we'd see official major version releases every year or two. Two years is more likely, but every year would be nice; especially when you consider the move to service-based licensing. My biggest fear is that there might be a staggered approach to releases. Microsoft has a lot of products to release. There could be product releases every 3-6 months for different products to make it seem like they're very busy, but that could still keep them at 3 year individual product cycles. Not quite ideal, but it would seemingly bring the gap between releases down. The only thing about that approach that doesn't directly match what they've been doing in the past, which is try to release products in groups (i.e. Windows Vista and Office 2007, VS 2005 and SQL Server 2005). I guess we'll see what happens within the next year. Vista should be in stores in January, so hopefully we'll see something a little more firm come out after that.