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Microsoft Corp. Monday announced that the much-anticipated next version of its developer tools suite will ship in the second half of 2005 in several versions, with the Microsoft Developer Network as its primary delivery mechanism.

Prashant Sridharan, Microsoft’s senior product manager for Visual Studio Team System, said Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2005, code-named Whidbey, will ship by the end of 2005 and that SQL Server 2005, code-named Yukon, will ship simultaneously.

Microsoft had earlier said the product would ship this summer, after a series of prior delays.

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However, in addition to alerting customers that Visual Studio 2005 will be coming a little later than expected, Microsoft also announced pricing for the product.

The Redmond, Wash., company announced that estimated retail pricing for Visual Studio 205 Express will be $49; Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition will run $299 or $199 for upgrades from the previous edition; and Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition will run $799 and $549 for upgrades, as will Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System.

In addition, Microsoft said subscribers to MSDN Universal, the current elite MSDN subscription, will be able to move to Visual Studio 2005 Team System at no charge, to one of three role-based options: Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Architects, Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Developers, and Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Testers.

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Sridharan said Microsoft also will offer special upgrade pricing for the Visual Studio Team Suite, which features all three of the role-based products.

In addition, Sridharan said customers can select the MSDN subscription level that best suits them.

Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with an MSDN Premium subscription runs $2,499, or $1,199 for renewals. Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with MSDN Professional Edition runs $1,199, with renewals going for $799. The MSDN Operating Systems subscription goes for $699, or $499 for renewals. And the MSDN Library subscription runs $199, or $99 for renewals, the company said.

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Sridharan said Microsoft also will be offering promotional pricing on MSDN.

“We wanted to reward the customers who were loyal to us early on,” Sridharan said of Microsoft’s plans to move existing MSDN Universal subscribers to Visual Studio Team System at no charge. “And we are advising customers to make sure their MSDN subscription is active. And if you don’t have it, we are encouraging people to get on MSDN Universal because that’s the best way to Team System.”

Meanwhile, Sridharan said subscription and renewal for volume licenses of Visual Studio 2005 Team System will start at $3,191, including Microsoft’s Software Assurance program. However, the pricing will vary according to customer environments, he said.

Sridharan said the second beta of Visual Studio 2005 will be available by the first week in April, and the product will ship in the second half.

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