64-bit Win2k beta for Q2 as Wintel reforms around Itanium
Does this in some way relate to Intel's snubbing of MS arch-enemy, Sun?
Another day, another beta - fresh from launching Windows 2000 yesterday, Microsoft said that it would deliver a beta of the 64-bit version in Q2 of this year, and reiterated that it expects to ship the finished version at the same time as Intel's Itanium goes out the door. Microsoft has of course provided abundant proof in the past that early expectations aren't necessarily borne out by reality, but the company maybe has a couple of things going for it this time around. It claims that the Windows 2000 code base is "64-bit ready," and of course it's been engaged in 64-bit development simultaneously with Win2k development. Add to this the likelihood that the first version of 64-bit Windows is likely to be a composite of 32-bit and 64-bit code, plus Windows supremo Jim Allchin's intention to get Microsoft's development schedules back under control, and maybe finished code for Itanium is just about do-able. But there's something else as well. Yesterday's commitment to a Q2 beta came as part of a joint Microsoft-Intel announcement, in which Microsoft announced the opening of a 64-bit Windows Developer's (sic, but we're sure they didn't mean there's only one developer) Lab in Redmond, supporting porting and tuning of applications. Microsoft and Intel also jointly announced delivery of an IA-64 SDK for 64-bit Windows. But spot the coincidence. Here we have Microsoft and Intel buddying up again on Windows for Itanium, while in the same week Intel mounted a public and somewhat histrionic assault on Sun, which it deemed to be backsliding on Solaris for Itanium. And, ahem, Microsoft president and CEO Steve Ballmer was training all his guns on the number one enemy, Sun, at yesterday's Win2k launch. We can see why defending the 64-bit Intel turf for Windows is important to Ballmer, and how much he must have enjoyed Paul Ottelini's assault on Sun, but it's not yet obvious what Intel gets. Obviously, it must be getting something. ® See also: Intel elaborates on Sun Solaris spat