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Microsoft Mum on Whistler

Microsoft Corp. has scrapped plans to produce a consumer- friendly version of Windows based on the NT kernel, and instead will produce a combined business/consumer OS called Whistler, according to company representatives.

It has been known for some time that Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) had intended to move both consumers and businesses to a unified platform due to the complexity of carrying two separate code bases. In fact, back when Windows 2000 was still called NT 5.0, reports were that it would be the unified OS. Then the software giant backed down from that expectation and announced Windows Millennium as the next consumer version of Windows.

This past summer, Microsoft announced details of Neptune, what was to be the first consumer-based NT platform. Meanwhile, development began on Odyssey, a business operating system, on track to succeed Windows 2000, but with the same code-base as Neptune.

Microsoft has not been open about the announcement, especially as to the question of why. "At this time, however, it is too early to discuss product specifics," says a company representative. As a precursor, just last month, Microsoft grouped all operating systems under group vice president Jim Allchin.

The software giant has also not released any details on timing for a release of Whistler. Neptune was due out in 2001 or 2002, so it would seem to be obvious that however Whistler turns out, there won't be much to see of it for a few years.

In the immediate future, customers can look for Windows 2000 Professional, Server, and Advanced Server to be released on February 17, Windows 2000 Datacenter Server to follow several months afterwards, and Windows Millennium sometime this summer. -- Brian Ploskina

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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