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Microsoft will use this week’s VSLive/SpeechTek/Microsoft Mobile Devcon conferences in San Francisco to emphasize its message that Visual Studio is the single, unified development platform around which developers should rally.

The trio of conferences, which kick off Wednesday with a keynote address by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, will be a launchpad for a handful of new Microsoft products.

As part of the four-day shindig, Microsoft is expected to unveil yet another “Whidbey” Visual Studio alpha release; Microsoft Speech Server 1.0; its new MapPoint Location Server; and its “Laguna” version of SQL Server for Windows CE.

Last week, Microsoft executives acknowledged that the delivery date for Visual Studio Whidbey—now officially christened Visual Studio 2005—has slipped to the first half of 2005. Until recently, Microsoft officials said the tool suite would ship by the end of this calendar year.

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