I was struck with a sense of déjà vu in reading this CRN interview with Bill Gates.  Here's what Gates said about Katmai, the next version of SQL Server (post "Yukon"):

WinFS is the idea of taking the file system and the database and the directory and the mail store and bringing those together. In this wave we still have a directory store, we have an Exchange mail store, we have a database store, we have a file server, so that dream of unifying those things, you know, people can see the technology we're building for that.

It's really the next round of SQL on the server where you could get that deep unification. And now we'll have it on the server and the client, we've got people helping us do the design of those things. So that doesn't really relate to Google in any way, because they're just Web search.

CRN: When you say the next wave, you mean the SQL Server after SQL Server 2005?

GATES: After. The next major one after that, that's right. I mean, we always use our codenames and Yukon was the codename of SQL 2005, and now there's this codename Katmai. I think it's a national park in Alaska.
Why déjà vu?  Well, because Steve Ballmer used almost the exact same concepts to describe "Yukon"...back in December, 2000.
The company also is banking on a new technology code-named Yukon "that will be key to our next-generation storage, database, file system, email, and user interface work," Ballmer wrote.

While the technology is "two years or so off, (it) is a core .Net and Windows technology and we will ask all development groups to organize their product plans to have new versions available in that timeframe based on Yukon and our .Net programming model."
It seems that the vision hasn't changed, just the timeline and ability to execute.  This opens up all sorts of new questions -- When will Katmai ship?  What will it mean in terms of migrations from existing SQL, Exchange,and SharePoint applications?  And should the industry believe the vision this time?  After all, it was the same story five years ago.

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