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Microsoft wants to deliver its Windows Server 2003 update, known as “R2,” in 2005. To make sure it will be able to do so, the company is prioritizing its feature list and moving some R2 features into later releases.

Microsoft officials updated the company’s Windows Server roadmap and made the changes public on Monday, in the name of maintaining “transparency” on behalf of customers.

In May, Microsoft officials said to expect R2 to include bug fixes for Windows Server 2003, as well as some of the 12 to 15 Windows Server “feature packs” that the company has rolled out since Windows Server 2003 shipped in April 2003. These feature packs include Active Directory Application Mode, SharePoint Services, Windows Update Services. Officials also said at that time that R2 would include full Network Access Protection and “Anywhere Access” capabilities, the latter of which was expected to draw on Microsoft’s next-generation Terminal Server features.

But now Microsoft has decided to push the Network Access Protection security capabilities it into Windows Server “Longhorn,” the Windows Server release due in 2007.

“Delivering Network Access Protection in R2 would have forced too many changes at a low level,” said Samm DiStasio, a group product manager with Microsoft’s Windows Server division, in explaining the company’s decision to postpone the feature until Longhorn Server.

At the same time, the Redmond software vendor has decided to cut any new Terminal Server updates from R2 and push them into the 2007 timeframe, executives confirmed. There was talk earlier this year that Microsoft had opted to axe Terminal Server “Bear Paw” features from R2, but the company would not confirm this decision publicly until now.

DiStasio denied rumors that Windows Server R2 was slipping into 2006. He said that Microsoft is still on target to deliver R2 in 2005, and said the second half of next year is the latest ship target. The company has yet to ship an R2 beta release to testers, DiStasio acknowledged, but said that one should be ready to go “relatively quickly.”

To read the full article at Microsoft Watch, click here.