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Microsoft Releases Multilanguage Version of Windows 2000

Microsoft Corp. this week came out with the first cut of its Windows 2000 Professional, MultiLanguage Version. The client OS is designed to simplify Windows 2000 rollouts, usage and support in multinational corporations and multilanguage organizations. Reference customers include Credit Suisse First Boston and the National Swiss Parliament.

Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) has already released Windows 2000 Professional in 24 languages, but the Multilanguage version allows users to switch among languages on the fly. Approximately 95 percent of the operating system in the multilanguage version is localized, with the remaining 5 percent in English.

The main business benefit is an easier rollout of the operating system because an organization can purchase licenses based on total employees rather than worrying about ordering different versions of the OS for employees with different language needs, according to Microsoft. IT logistics are also simplified because an administrator can switch the language at a workstation to support or administer the box even if the user requires a different language.

Microsoft also promotes the version for use with roaming profiles, which keep a users language settings along with all other personal settings on the network. For example, a German sales representative based in Switzerland could maintain a German language interface when working on a machine at an office in France. Such scenarios are far off for most organizations, however, as they would require an Active Directory implementation.

This version supports traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Swedish. Microsoft came close to delivering the release within its target of six weeks from the Feb. 17 launch of Windows 2000.

A refresh release scheduled for mid-July is set to add support for Arabic, Brazilian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portugese, Russian, and Turkish.

Brian Valentine, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, says the multilanguage version has been one of the most popular demonstration points in Windows 2000. “Our multinational customers used to deploy several language versions of Windows 2000 in one office to accommodate employees or customers who speak different languages. They have been asking us for some time to simplify this,” Valentine said in a statement.

Michael Silver, an analyst at Gartner Group (www.gartner.com), predicts that the ability to deploy a single version of the operating system supporting several languages in a single domain will reduce complexity and management overhead. – Scott Bekker

About the Author

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

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