Microsoft to Outline Hardware Specifications

SAN MATEO (04/24/2000) - At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in New Orleans this week, Microsoft Corp. will spell out its design specifications for hardware vendors, emphasizing this year's software-based upgrades on products from DSL modems to networking hardware.

More than 100 companies will converge at the annual event to showcase a number of new technology solutions. In addition, the conference will provide a stage for the independent Mobile Advisory Council to unveil its mobile PC recommendations.

While Microsoft follows its pre-prepared agenda for the conference, however, it may find itself sidetracked by another issue: A source close to the company said he expects Microsoft to be faced with a barrage of questions from vendors about the status of the Windows Millennium operating system.

"People will want Millennium on the shelf by Christmas," said the source. "And there's going to be a lot of discussion about, 'hey, I'm going to be shipping Millennium by Christmas, so what's the deal, Microsoft?' "Heavily rooted in technical sessions, WinHEC gives hardware and software companies that incorporate Microsoft technology an opportunity to catch up with its latest advances and plan the coming year's product development.

Those familiar with the conference expect this year's show to be a 50-50 split between software-and hardware-based directives from Microsoft.

Microsoft is not the only company that will be making recommendations, however.

The Mobile Advisory Council, a nonprofit mobile advocacy group made up of mobile industry professionals, will address the preparedness of mobile PC manufacturers to integrate wireless technologies into notebooks, as well as highlight how Microsoft's PC2001 design guideline proposal affects mobile PC design.

Meanwhile, mobile technology demos scheduled to take place on the trade show floor will include Windows CE-based wireless devices from Accelent Systems, while Computer Access Technology Corp. (CATC) will be showing its new Merlin Bluetooth Protocol Analyzer and Universal USB (Universal Serial Bus) Port Tester. CATC provides development tools and test equipment that enable broadband Internet access, wireless communication, and systems that incorporate Microsoft's Universal Plug and Play device connectivity.

Networking demonstrations at WinHEC will include Fibre Channel technology, Ultra 160 SCSI and software-based RAID technology from LSI Logic, and a demonstration of three internally developed DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous DRAM) platforms from Micron Technology.

Motorola will be on hand to demonstrate its SM56 PCI II SoftDSL modem, which is said to minimize total cost of ownership by providing a software upgrade to evolving standards such as V.92.

Microsoft Corp., in Redmond, Washington, is at www.microsoft.com.

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