Microsoft said yesterday that its SQL Server 2000 database software is ready for release.
The Redmond giant has sent the software for manufacture ahead of a huge launch, codenamed Enterprise 2000, planned for 26 September.
On that date, Microsoft will explain how SQL Server 2000 will fit in with its highly publicised .Net strategy of internet-ready products and services.
The company will be banking on the latest version to keep up the momentum as database software sales from all major vendors are enjoying a renaissance thanks to the growth of the internet.
Microsoft is also hoping that the software will propel it to being a contender for enterprise sales, as opposed to departmental and small business sales, because of its enhanced security and improved business information analysis features.
Worldwide database sales grew by 18 per cent last year to nearly $8bn with Oracle, IBM and Microsoft as the leading players, according to researcher Dataquest.
The online version of the US's top-selling magazine, TV Guide, is a beta tester of SQL Server 2000. Lyle Anderson, chief information officer of TV Guide Online, said: "Using SQL Server 2000 we were able to launch a new, highly reliable web business in record time. With features such as integrated XML support, we will be able to enhance future versions of our site even more quickly."
Microsoft said 100 users will be testing the software during the next three months, several of whom will relate their experiences at the September launch.
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