Longhorn – noun. To announce a product that isn’t ready for release. In practice, possibly years away. Derived from Microsoft announcing ‘Longhorn’ four or five years before it shipped, thus ensuring that customers did not consider Linux while waiting. Eventually shipped Vista which was a failure.
By longhorning a product announcement, large companies ensure that rivals cannot move into the market space by making customers think that if they just hold on long enough, the next generation of of their current technology will soon be here.
In networking, consider Cisco’s recent ASR9000 announcement with no details on supervisors, line modules, only generic backplane details and limited information on software features. This assists in ‘helping’ customers decision to continue with their 7600 platforms a little bit longer instead of switching to Juniper or other Service Provider edge hardware. A triumph of marketing with a supposed ‘viral social 2.0 campaign’ with engineering hanging their heads in disgust and shame.