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Intel Developer Forum David Cole, general manager of Microsoft's consumer division, faced over 2,000 developers in Palm Springs today and attempted to guide them through the Windows labyrinth. His message was that as he liked things to be simple, everything Microsoft was doing was simple. But it isn't. Talking about Win2000, Cole showed a slide of the four different packages people can buy: Professional, Server, Advanced Server and DataCenter. He said: "We're on track to ship by the end of this year but we won't ship it until our partners say it's ready to go." He attempted to explain why Microsoft had different software bases for business and for consumers. "We do find diverging needs. For business you want to optimise for security, for consumers you want to focus on digital media, games and ultracompatibility." He said: "One size doesn't fit all today. Underlying this optimisation is a common API and there will be a common driver set." There will not be a great degree in common between Windows Millennium and Windows 2000 except for the user interface, Cole explained. "Consumers will get all of the best that we're doing in business. All the ease of use that's in the consumer product, we'll put in business. A common code base is very important for us." Windows 2000 and Win NT 4 is for businesses of all sizes, said Cole. Windows 98 and Millennium are for consumers. Microsoft will, however, allow people in business to buy consumer products and vice versa. He said a beta for Win64 would be available in the first half of next year. He said: "The number of error messages we put in front of people is a tragedy." We counted over 70 uses of the word simple in his 40 minute keynote. ®

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