While Microsoft continues raising Longhorn, rivals are seizing the operating system's extended adolescence to develop competing feature sets of their own.
The already scaled-back version of Longhorn is still roughly 18 months from shipping, and with the expected technical advances by Linux competitors during that time, Microsoft's estimable industry influence to sell the product as currently constituted will be severely tested.
Even with the much anticipated WinFS file system chopped out and sent back to its ostensibly eternal beta cycle, Microsoft believes the remaining technology goodies in the Longhorn bag will compel many business users and consumers to upgrade.
With IT shops not anticipating any bold new features in the first version of the product, many are not planning to make a meaningful commitment to Longhorn any time soon after its release.
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