Windows .NET Server was to be the final name for what was formerly called Windows 2002, formerly called Windows Whistler Server, formerly called Windows .NET 1.0, formerly called Windows Neptune, formerly called Windows NT 6.0, and presently called Windows Server 2003. It is better covered under the writeup for Windows Server 2003, and this writeup remains only as a legacy of Microsoft's horrible indecision when it comes to naming their products.

Windows Server 2003 was released in early 2003, contrasting with the release date of October 25th, 2001 for the "little brother" to Server, Windows XP (Home Edition and Professional). The development of the software was a long time coming, with the initial underpinnings released to a select group in December of 1999, just after the RTM of Windows 2000, as Windows Neptune.

The new server release is expected to be the first in a long series of Windows versions that closely tie into Microsoft's .NET strategy, and will more closely connect Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, and various other enterprise products from Microsoft, using a Microsoft based standard, .NET.

The name came after internal haggling at Microsoft for some time. Never quite pleased with making sense, Microsoft decided to switch from the rift between NT and 9x numbering systems (NT 3.51, 4.0; Windows 95, 98, 98 SE) to using Windows 2000 for its flagship product, despite the subsequent release of Windows Me, the successor to Windows 98 SE. With the next version of windows (codenamed Whistler) in the works, Microsoft decided to forego uniting both branches with a name such as Windows 2002 (despite the fact that Windows XP says it is version 2002), and instead named it Windows XP, for the experience. And now, with the server versions of the Whistler software built, Microsoft decided to further muddy the waters by creating Windows .NET Server, only to reverse themselves and name it Windows Server 2003, separating the year from the brand with the product. Make sense yet?

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