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Ballmer suggests NT 5.0 delayed

Top half of next year, he says

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Windows NT 5.0 may be further delayed. Microsoft president Steve Ballmer, speaking after the Seybold conference in San Francisco yesterday, seemed to be preparing the ground when he said: "We're still a little bit away, longer than we'd like, from shipping NT5." He told the conference that Microsoft expected to ship NT5 "the top half of next year". The previous time Ballmer had spoken at the conference was in 1991, when he found that on polling the audience of publishing-oriented people "My sister and I, and maybe two other people, were all the Windows users in the audience." When he polled this time, he found around a third of the audience used Windows. Ballmer's sales talk included reassuring messages for Mac users ("We're 100 per cent committed") and he added that Microsoft had more than nine million Mac customers. "We're also very committed to working with the standards bodies that have grown up particularly around the Internet", Ballmer said. He then went on to demonstrate chrome effects, which uses the W3C standard extended mark-up language XML inside the browser, and requires a 300 MHz processor with a 4 Mb 3D video card to render the 3D effect graphics. Closely questioned about whether there would be a Mac plug-in, or a stand-alone version, Ballmer was non committal, claiming diplomatically that it would depend on developer demand. The Mac-dominated audience was hostile to the XML standard being embedded in Windows 98 only. Ballmer referred to the increasing interest by enterprises in freeware such as Linux, Apache, SendMail and Perl. Microsoft was "worried" about the trend, Ballmer admitted, but claimed that the free price was not "a customer plus in many cases" because of support issues. Tackled about the open source code and whether IE source code would be released, Ballmer ducked the question, saying only that Microsoft had released some source code for drivers, libraries and DLLs. With Apple moving to replace Quick Draw with Adobe's PDF format, Ballmer was asked if Microsoft would be providing better support for PDF. He said Microsoft would continue with GDI, but although Microsoft had no clear plan, discussions were continuing with Adobe. ®

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