Microsoft's ecommerce software application Biztalk Server has been further delayed as the company rushes to add extra functionality to make it more competitive.
The XML based product was first delayed after it was due to debut in beta form in the middle of last year but was pushed back until December 1999. Even then, only components of the server were delivered to beta testers, not the entire product.
According to Microsoft, the latest delay is due to the work currently being carried out on a new addition to the server, that will take the product "far ahead" of its competitors, such as Hewlett-Packard's eSpeak.
Richard Godfrey, Biztalk server software engineer at Microsoft said: "The delays are due to the matter of the extra component. I can't give details or say exactly what this significant element is."
He added: "We are consciously aware of the delays but feel that the additional functionality will make it a compelling story. It was a choice between bringing a product out which did the same or a little better than the competition or putting something in it that will make it a lot better."
Godfrey said the first beta of the final product is due in March and the second is due between March and mid year.
"We can't give exact dates," he said.
Forrester analyst Eric Brown said he didn't think the delays would trouble Microsoft's ecommerce strategy.
"This is a slip that I don't think Microsoft will find too painful. At the moment, Hewlett-Packard's eSpeak is still a story rather than a product," he said.
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