Gates hints Win2k shipment will slip to next year

Yes, we know that's not how everybody else is reporting it, but we don't care

Here's a puzzle. Yesterday Bill Gates was widely reported as expressing confidence that Windows 2000 would ship this year, whereas what he really said could more comfortably be interpreted as suggesting further slippage. You hear what you want to hear, apparently. He was speaking to some of his firmest friends, at Dell's DirectConnect conference, and he said "We are very close to the final shipment... We're pretty sure the builds will go final by the end of the year." But although these are confident noises, they're less confident than the ones Microsoft was making earlier this year. Six months ago or thereabouts Microsoft was saying it would ship when it's done, but it was clear that Win2k slipping beyond December was unthinkable. MS was even indicating to the more docile elements in the press that it was pretty sure it would achieve a private, internal target of, er, October. We don't hear those leaks any more, do we? And check out precisely what Bill was saying. Effectively, he's pretty sure that Microsoft will be able to get to final builds before the end of the year. He didn't say gold code, and while that might be what he meant, it might not be, too. Whatever, if the target has slipped to getting to Release To Manufacture (RTM) by the end of December, then it'll be into Q1 2000 before Win2k starts shipping. Which is somewhat different from 'will ship this year,' no? This incidentally tallies with what Microsoft was telling the analysts, and most of the press (and, god help us, the analysts) were failing to notice, a few weeks back. The company doesn't expect serious revenues from Win2k until the second half of the year, and said so in its PowerPoints. ®

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