By 1990, the co-marketing and distribution arrangement with Ashton-Tate, which was intended to tie SQL Server to the large dBASE community, simply wasn't working. Even the desktop version of dBASE IV was quite late, and it had a reputation of being buggy when it shipped in 1989. The Server Edition, which would ostensibly make it simple to develop higher-performance SQL Server applications using dBASE, was nowhere to be seen.
As many others have painfully realized, developing a single- user , record-oriented application is much different from developing applications for multiple users for which issues of concurrency, consistency, and network latency need to be considered . Initial attempts at marrying the dBASE tools with SQL Server had dBASE treating SQL Server as though it were an Indexed Sequential Access Method (ISAM). A command to request a specific row was issued for each row needed. Although this procedural model was what dBASE users were accustomed to, it wasn't an efficient way to use SQL Server, with which users could gain more power with less overhead by issuing SQL statements to work with sets of information. But at the time, SQL Server lacked the capabilities to make it easy to develop applications that would work in ways dBASE users were accustomed to (such as browsing through data forward and backward, jumping from record to record, and updating records at any time). Scrollable cursors didn't exist yet.
The effort to get dBASE IV Server Edition working well provided many ideas for how scrollable cursors in a networked client/server environment should behave. In many ways, it was the prime motivation for including this feature in SQL Server version 6.0 in 1995, six years later.
Only two years earlier, Ashton-Tate had been king of the PC database market. Now it was beginning to fight for its survival and needed to refocus on its core dBASE desktop product. Microsoft would launch OS/2 LAN Manager under the Microsoft name (as opposed to the initial attempts to create only OEM versions), and it needed SQL Server to help provide a foundation for the development of client/server tools that would run on Microsoft LAN Manager and Microsoft OS/2. So Microsoft and Ashton-Tate terminated their comarketing and distribution arrangements. The product would be repackaged and reintroduced as Microsoft SQL Server.
Microsoft SQL Server version 1.1 shipped in the summer of 1990 as an upgrade to the Ashton-Tate/Microsoft SQL Server version 1.0 that had shipped in 1989. For the first time, SQL Server was a Microsoft-supported, shrink-wrapped product, and it was sold through the newly formed Microsoft Network Specialist channel, whose main charter was to push Microsoft LAN Manager.
When version 1.1 shipped, Microsoft didn't see SQL Server as a lucrative product in its own right. Within Microsoft, SQL Server was generally thought of as a way to push LAN Manager and OS/2 and wasn't viewed as a strong database product in and of itself. SQL Server would be one of the reasons to buy LAN Managerthat's all.
SQL Server 1.1 had the same features as version 1.0, although it included many bug fixesthe type of maintenance that is understandably necessary for a version 1.0 product of this complexity. But SQL Server 1.1 also supported a significant new client platform, Microsoft Windows 3.0. Windows 3.0 had shipped in May 1990, a watershed event in the computer industry. SQL Server 1.1 provided an interface that enabled Windows 3.0-based applications to be efficiently developed for it. This early and full support for Windows 3.0-based applications proved to be vital to the success of Microsoft SQL Server. The success of the Windows platform would also mean fundamental changes for Microsoft and SQL Server, although these changes weren't yet clear in the summer of 1990.
With the advent of Windows 3.0 and SQL Server 1.1, many new Windows-based applications showed up and many were, as promised , beginning to support Microsoft SQL Server. By early 1991, suddenly dozens of third-party software products used SQL Server. SQL Server was one of the few database products that provided a Windows 3.0 dynamic link library (DLL) interface practically as soon as Windows 3.0 shipped, which was now paying dividends in the marketplace . Quietly but unmistakably, Microsoft SQL Server was leading. Overall sales were still modest, but until tools beyond C existed to build solutions, sales couldn't be expected to be impressive. It was the classic chicken-and-egg situation.