WinHEC Attendees Hear Whistler Plans

NEW ORLEANS (04/28/2000) - Microsoft Corp. this week outlined key features of the next version of Windows 2000, code-named Whistler, calling it "a fairly minor upgrade." Whistler is scheduled for release in the second half of next year, and, consequently, most Windows NT servers will end up skipping Windows 2000 and going directly to Whistler, according to a Gartner Group Inc. analyst.

At last week's annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here, several sessions focused on Whistler, which will be the successor to both Windows 2000 for business users and Windows Me (the consumer Windows version due later this year) for home users.

Carl Stork, general manager of the Windows Hardware Strategy Group, said that for business users, Whistler "will probably be a fairly minor upgrade" - even though it's scheduled to ship almost two years after the initial release of Windows 2000.

Gartner analyst Tom Bitman, speaking at the research firm's "Windows 2000 in the Enterprise" conference in San Francisco last week, said that at least 70% of the NT Server installed base will skip Windows 2000 Release 1, and most of them will move directly to Whistler.

Several attendees at the Gartner conference offered evidence to confirm that prediction. Steve Huffman, CIO at Phelps Dodge Corp., a Phoenix-based copper mining company, said the company will probably roll out some Windows 2000 servers this year. But, because a large-scale server rollout isn't expected until next year, it's likely to be with Whistler, not Windows 2000, merely because of the timing, he said.

Domenick Branciforte, corporate technology manager at insurance company Royal & SunAlliance USA in Charlotte, North Carolina, said his company is now in the proof-of-concept phase for Windows 2000. "When [the rollout is] going to be full-blown, it will be [Whistler]," he said.

Microsoft also confirmed that 64-bit Windows will be part of the Windows 2000 product family and will ship along with the first Itanium systems later this year.

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