Microsoft formally unveiled Visual Studio 97 last Wednesday at its Developer Days event – right on schedule – and with the months of pre-announcements and betas found itself with little left to talk about except the price. As had been predicted in most quarters, Visual Studio 97 comes to market at $1,000 for the Professional Edition and $1,500 for an Enterprise Edition. Upgrades are $500 and $1,000. That price is almost $1,300 less than the $2,300 the various programs in Visual Studio 97 Professional would cost if purchased separately. One might say it’s almost a give-away price that’s likely to set off a downward spiral for development software prices throughout the industry. The DevDays broadcast played to 45,000 developers sitting in 95 movie houses scattered around 45 countries. They got a pep talk from Bill Gates, who stole his own limelight with Wednesday’s announcement. There were no last-minute surprises in the contents of the Visual Studio 97 suite, which includes Visual Basic 5.0, Visual C++ 5.0, Visual InterDev 1.0, Visual J++ 1.1, Visual FoxPro 5.0 and the Microsoft Developer Network Library. The Enterprise Edition adds SQL debugging tools, Visual SourceSafe 5.0, RDO 2.0 for high-speed Open Database Connectivity access, a set of visual database tools and the developer editions of Transaction Server 1.0 and SQL Server 6.5. Vendors of more than 50 third-party programs – besides the dozens already announced over the past weeks – showed up to hawk software they say already works with Visual Studio, or has been upgraded in its honor. Those present included Sybase Inc, Progress Software Corp’s Crescent division and Stingray Software Inc.