Microsoft to merge business, consumer Windows code projects

Microsoft has confirmed that two operating system projects, Neptune and Odyssey, have been merged into a single future product, Whistler, for both consumers and business users.

Microsoft has long intended to merge its two Windows code lines by dropping the legacy, MS-DOS-based Windows 95/98 code. But last spring, these plans were delayed when the company announced its intention to introduce at least one more Windows 95/98 iteration, code-named Windows Millennium and due to be released later this year.

After Millennium, Microsoft had scheduled a consumer operating system based on the Windows NT kernel, code-named Neptune. Separately, the company was working on a Windows 2000 follow-up called Odyssey. Both projects - which were based on the same Windows NT code line - have now been merged into Whistler.

Whistler also happens to be the code-name of Microsoft's speech recognition technology, leading to speculation that speech technology will be a built-in feature of the operating system release. Microsoft said it was too soon to discuss specifics of the product.

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