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It's a portability exercise, insiders claim

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Indications that Microsoft programmers are still doing builds of Windows NT for the Alpha platform are correct, insiders at Microsoft US have revealed. A source at Redmond, who did not wish to be named, said that ever since Compaq "pulled the plug" on the OS for the 64-bit microprocessor, work had continued at Microsoft. He said: "Internally, Microsoft has continued to build W2k and Neptune for the Alphas. They're doing it as a portability exercise. One of the original design goals of NT was portability, and Cutler and others have wanted to maintain that objective. I know they maintained active builds through Beta 3 of W2k". The real question here, however, is Compaq's position on the continuing development work. Publically, it is now pushing the 64-bit Merced-Itanium platform for its x.86 based server division. But over the Christmas period, Compaq posted a lengthy white paper on its Web site contrasting the Alpha and the Merced processor, which seemed to suggest it favoured its own, rather than Intel's 64-bit microprocessor. The Big Q is also expected to push its delayed Wildfire platform into the public perception next month. As we reported last year, Compaq is also pushing nearly half a billion $US into promoting the Alpha processor. Meanwhile, Mark Russinovich, who we quoted in yesterday's story about NT-Alpha (see below), has written us to offer clarification. He says: "The fact that Win64 development was taking place on Alphas in November is absolutely no indication that NT on Alpha may be resurrected. In fact, Microsoft stated when they announced they would no long support the Alpha that their 64-bit development would continue on Alpha until they received quantity samples of Merced-Itanium. Its logical that they would be still using Alphas for 64-bit work when in November there was only one Merced-Itanium sample available to the developers." ® See also Alpha NT could rise from the dead Big Q site claims Alpha thrashes Itanium-Merced

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