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Beta 3 Launch Process Underway, Ready or Not

Beta 3 of Windows 2000 isn’t coming this week, but you wouldn’t know it at Spring Comdex in Chicago.

Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates talked about features of Windows 2000 during his keynote on Monday, and major vendors rolled out their plans for the third beta of the operating system upgrade Microsoft calls its most ambitious undertaking yet.

According to published reports, Microsoft had hoped to get beta 3 out the door by April 21 but had to push that date back to April 28. Brian Valentine, Microsoft’s new Windows 2000 boss who is generally credited with forcing developers of the overdue OS to meet schedules, has said Beta 3 may not be available until May. Microsoft officials expect the final version of Windows 2000 to come out around October.

Last week at Compaq Innovate in Houston, Gates demonstrated the Active Directory feature of the new operating system. This time, the audience got demonstrations of bandwidth management, synchronization, multiple monitor support and a file format for digital camera images.

To maintain momentum, Microsoft today highlighted Windows 2000 and Beta 3 information and service programs from Amdahl Corp., Banyan Systems Inc., Cambridge Technology Partners, Compaq Computer Corp., Data General Corp., Dell Computer Corp., DMR Consulting Group Inc., EMC Corp., Ernst & Young L.L.P., Gateway 2000 Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., ICL, Intergraph Corp., International Network Services, Micron Electronics Inc., NCR Corp., Siemens AG, Toshiba America Inc., Unisys Corp. and Wang Global.

Microsoft also announced it would sell the Beta 3 version of Windows 2000 through its Corporate Preview Program (CPP). Customers can order the CPP through a Microsoft Certified Solution Provider or through Microsoft’s Web site for $59.95. Microsoft says delivery will take six to eight weeks after beta 3 is released.

"What we're going to do is take beta three -- that's coming out by the end of this month -- and make it available for IT evaluators anywhere," Gates said. "And as part of this new program, we'll get the product out to over 500,000 different customers. And so that's a record, even for us." -- Scott Bekker

About the Author

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

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