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NT 4.0 and Millennium win MSDN reprieve

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The one interest group that seems to have a hotline to god when it comes to changing Microsoft's mind has apparently done it again. A week after Paul Thurrott revealed that Microsoft Developer Network subscribers weren't automatically getting NT 4.0 CDs any more, and would be getting Millennium later in the year, the entire position has been reversed, and Microsoft has apologised to Paul for the 'confusion.' Microsoft's careful attention to developers has historically been one of the lesser-known but most important secrets of the company's success, and in this case a few days of outrage from the subscribers seems to have done the trick. Microsoft supplies MSDN subscribers with a regular refresh of product disks, but as Thurrott reported last week NT 4.0 disks didn't come with the most recent drop, and enquiries revealed that Millennium (aka Windows ME) wouldn't be going out to them either, because it's a consumer OS. The intention underlying these ham-fisted actions was clearly to downscale NT as fast as possible and heave developers over to a Win2k track instead. Lack of support for Millennium simply meant that Microsoft's planners didn't really see the continuation of the Win 9x line as of any serious importance, and wanted to focus on future Win2k-based consumer code. But this was clearly a heave too far. Developers need to carry on working with NT for quite a while yet, and as far as consumer developers are concerned, this goes for Millennium too, in spades. It's not clear what the successor is yet, and even if you're really optimistic you can't expect it before late 2001. So you develop for Millennium, or you don't develop. The Microsoft policy has now been reversed via something of a handbrake turn. According to an email being sent out to subscribers, NT is still being supported, and is still available for download. This in itself doesn't reverse anything, as Microsoft never said it was going to pull support anyway, but new subscribers will get NT 4.0 with their disks, and existing subscribers will get updates as normal. As far as Millennium is concerned, developers will get beta and RTM code when it's available later this year. But although all this appears to put things back to approximately where they were before the Win2k rollout, developers would do well to remember that although Microsoft is going to carry on supplying them with what they need to develop for NT and Millennium, it is still Microsoft's intention to engineer the switch to Win2k as quickly as possible. So even though the stick's been withdrawn, the carrots are inevitably going to get scrawnier. ® See Also: WinInfo story MS pushes developers to switch from NT to Win2k

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