April 2003 saw Microsoft unveil its current high-end server operating system, a 64-bit version of the SQL Server database software, and new web services developer tools.
At the time Microsoft described Windows Server 2003 as the "most reliable, highest-performing server operating system" it had ever built, and targeted Windows users who would previously have bought Unix platforms as their infrastructure grew.
Analysts recommended that Windows NT4 users seriously consider an upgrade, although there were less compelling reasons for those using Windows 2000.
More recently, Microsoft has admitted delays to its next SQL Server release and Visual Studio .Net 2003 developer toolkit, codenamed Whidbey, prompting users of its maintenance licensing schemes to question the company's claims about value for money.
But while reliability and security remain Windows Server 2003 issues, Microsoft has also received plaudits. The twists and turns of the Windows server market will undoubtedly continue.
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