I wasn't surprised to read this post by Dave Winer on Longhorn, after all, its not like the software industry is a stranger to slipping on delivery dates. What did catch my eye however was this quote.

"Longhorn isn't designed to solve anyone's problems. I think they all know it, but they can't say it out loud because they've all drunk the Kool Aid on this."

Thats pretty savage, and its also wrong. The exposure of the shell to managed code along will give rise to a new breed of "always on" applications. Take for example the panel bar which is typically docked over to the right hand side.

Recently I worked with a government customer who needed to integrate a prototype .NET application with an IVR system. If we had the panel bar we could have EASILY hooked up information like call-stats, queue status and incoming call information.

They keyword here is EASILY, you see all of these things are possible today if you are willing to wade through a mountain of less than friendly COM interfaces but when the pressure is on to deliver core functionality these usability features tend to get pushed down the priority list.

In the end we had to compromise, when a call came in we popped a balloon window attached to a tray icon and when it was clicked fade in a caller info window (keyed on info provided by the customer during initial prompts from the IVR system).

So I think it would be fair to say that Longhorn has a lot for business application developers.