SAN MATEO (03/23/2000) - The head of Windows development said today that Microsoft Corp. was convinced that a copy of Whistler, the next-generation version of consumer Windows, had been posted to the Internet for download, as reported earlier this week.
Yesterday, Jim Allchin, group vice president of Microsoft's Platforms Group, disputed reports that an early, internal build of Whistler had been posted on "various college and Internet sites." The report first appeared on ActiveWin, a Windows-centric Web site at http://www.activewin.com/.
"The build was out on the Internet," Allchin said in an e-mail message late today. "The original story by www.activewin.com. appears to be correct."
Allchin said yesterday that Microsoft had enlisted services of several outside sources, including the FBI, to investigate the claim.
A Microsoft spokesman said that the company had turned up no further information on how the code was released on the Internet.
"The build arrived at my door anonymously last week and I soon after began seeing it floating around college newsgroups and IRC channels," said Nate Mook, of another developer information Web site, http://www.efront.com/. "I can assure you the build is real. It is an internal release from March 9th."
The Whistler project is the result of Microsoft's combining the work of two development groups: one that was building Neptune, which was touted as a consumer version of Windows NT; and the other that is developing Odyssey, the upgrade to Windows 2000.
An update to Windows 98, Windows Me, is slated for release later this year, and Whistler -- which has no scheduled release date, according to Microsoft -- is designed to be an update to both Millennium and Windows 2000.
According to the ActiveWin report, build 2211.1 of Whistler -- referred to as Whistler Windows 2001 -- looks similar to Windows 2000, but has added HTML enhancements that seem to be aimed at beginning users. According to users who downloaded the alpha code, the control panel is an HTML interface by default.
Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Washington, is at http://www.microsoft.com/.