In earlier versions of Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000, left and right outer join conditions were specified in the WHERE clause using the *= and =* operators. In some cases, this syntax results in an ambiguous query that can be interpreted in more than one way. SQL-92 compliant outer joins are specified in the FROM clause and do not result in this ambiguity. Because the SQL-92 syntax is more precise, detailed information about using the old Transact-SQL outer join syntax in the WHERE clause is not included with this release. The syntax may not be supported in a future version of SQL Server. Any statements using the Transact-SQL outer joins should be changed to use the SQL-92 syntax.
The SQL-92 standard does support the specification of inner joins in either the FROM or WHERE clause. Inner joins specified in the WHERE clause do not have the same problems with ambiguity as the Transact-SQL outer join syntax.