Microsoft Previews Appliance-Ready Whistler OS

NEW ORLEANS (04/26/2000) - Microsoft Corp. today outlined the roadmap for its next generation of operating systems, code-named Whistler.

The new family of OSes, based on the Windows NT kernel and slated for release in data server, advanced server, office PC, and consumer versions, will be available to computer manufacturers sometime in 2001.

The release of the Whistler family of OSes represents the first time the popular NT kernel will be used in a consumer operating system. It will also spell the end of Microsoft's ongoing development of not only Windows Millennium, which is due to begin shipping in systems before this Christmas, but also the entire line of operating systems working from the current Windows 98 and 2000 code base, at every level of deployment from enterprise to small business, said Carl Stork, the general manager of the Windows operating system division.

"Because of hardware design cycles that can take over a year, [Microsoft] needs to share information about what's coming down the line to our system integrators in order to provide a smooth transition from one operating system to the next," Stork said.

But it's the embedded versions of Whistler, which will arrive within 90 days of the initial launch, that have computer makers here at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) eager for its release.

Shipping in both 32-and 64-bit versions, the embedded versions of Whistler will power task-specific devices without the hindrance of unnecessary code, such as removing the graphics component for an application that will run on a "smart refrigerator appliance."

Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Washington, is at

Dan Neel is an InfoWorld reporter.

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