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Enterprise Customers to Get First Crack at 64-bit Advanced Server

Late last week, a UK-based technology publication reported (http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/20175.html ) that Microsoft Corp. planned to market a pre-release version of its forthcoming Windows .NET Advanced Server – dubbed, appropriately enough, Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition – as part of an overall effort to ratchet-up Advanced Server adoption rates among its customers.

Today, sources inside the software giant moved to clarify such reports.

“Microsoft is issuing the Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition specifically for customers to get started earlier with their testing and production deployments of Itanium-based systems,” a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed.

Microsoft representatives note that the software giant’s plans in this respect are not new. In late May, for example, Redmond first announced the general availability of Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition, a variant of its forthcoming Windows .NET Advanced Server platform that is designed specifically to run on Intel’s 64-bit Itanium Microprocessor.

Microsoft said that it doesn’t plan on distributing Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition to just anyone, however. On the contrary, Microsoft representatives note that the 64-bit operating system will be available only through select OEMs. As a result, customers who want to deploy the next-generation operating system will have to enter into relationships with OEM partners in order to do so.

“Microsoft will ship Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition to Microsoft OEM's for distribution on their hardware,” the Microsoft spokesperson said. “Today, Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition is currently undergoing extensive in-house testing, and pre-release versions have been shipped to over a thousand customers for feedback.

The same Microsoft spokesperson also said that customers who choose to roll out Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition right now will be able to upgrade free-of-charge to the 64-bit version of Windows .NET Advanced Server when it becomes available.

Microsoft has also committed to shipping a 64-bit variant of its forthcoming Windows XP Professional desktop operating system, which it has creatively entitled Windows XP 64-bit Edition. Like Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition, 64-bit Windows XP is available now through Microsoft’s Early Deployment Program. The software giant says that Windows XP 64-bit Edition is slated to ship simultaneously with its 32-bit Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home brethren.

Because it will address both the high-performance workstation and high-end data-processing market segments with its releases of, respectively, 64-bit Windows XP Professional and 64-bit Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition, Microsoft says that it has no plans to pre-release a 64-bit version of its standard Windows .NET Server operating system, however.

“Windows .NET Server, which will include both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, is scheduled for three-to-six months after Windows XP [is released to manufacturing], conceivably putting its release in the first half of 2002,” the Microsoft spokesperson confirmed. “At present, there are not plans to introduce a Limited Edition release of this product.”

Stephen Swoyer

About the Author

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

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