This guy has a rather, uh, odd perspective on what the past & future Visual Studio products were about:
And what is up with the completely unrelated title? Let me spell out the facts:
Visual Studio .NET (aka VS 2002, VS7) contained a good normal, native C++ compiler. Of course, given the way that it was marketed, anyone could make the mistake to believe that this wasn't true.
Visual Studio .Net 2003 (aka VS7.1) contained a great, highly compliant native C++ compiler, and also address many (though not most) of the irritations that VC6 native programmers had with VS7.
Visual Studio 2005 contains 4 great, highly compliant native C++ compilers: x86 (MSFT's bread & butter), ARM (PocketPC's), IA64 (wacky high-end server with every microarchitectural feature, plus the kitchen sink), and best of all, x64 (my baby 🙂 The x86, IA64, and x64 compilers also support the managed extensions, and yes, the new syntax is dramatically better than the old stuff. But if you just want to write native C++, there have been some great tools available for a long time, despite the best effort of our marketing department. Other portions of the article hit amazingly close to home ('nuff said).
As far as the actual title of that article goes, various components of the Windows Server System that may not run properly on Windows for x64 are undoubtedly doing crazy things that just don't make sense to do the same way in 64 bit land, or, are just anal: If you recall, Exchange 2000 doesn't run on Windows 2003 (I don't know [or care] why). And Exchange 2003 doesn't run on Windows 2000. So I'm not really surprised that old versions Exchange or SQL don't work. Funniest minor fact of all: VS 2003 didn't originally install on Win64, but the only reason was because there was an explicit check to see if it was running on Win64, and then it would just say "We don't support running on this platform". Nothing someone with a hex-editor couldn't work around (GetSysWow64:-) Until the WoW64 magicians (Samer rules) did something wacky in the OS, and now, it just installs. Of course, you really want Whidbey - it's so very much better... Beta2 is just around the corner.
Anyway, I just read that article, and it bothered me: There has not been a single version of Visual C++ that hasn't come with a fully functional NATIVE C++ compiler - no virtual machine/execution environment required.