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Windows ME on target for mid-June completion

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Windows ME, aka Millennium Edition, has reached Release Candidate 1 stage, and is expected to RTM (Release to Manufacture) in the middle of June. Windows-watching sites are variously reporting the intended RTM as the 13th or the 14th, so presumably it's a 'push the button at midnight' job.

According to Paul Thurrott at Wininfo, testers have been told to expect several more release candidates over the next few weeks, but that the features are now frozen, and Microsoft is only looking for "show stopper" bugs and regressions from previous Windows releases. But the company seems confident that it can make the mid-June RTM, and to have the software available for sale and in preinstalls from August.

All remarkably tidy really, and all the more impressive in that the man responsible for shepherding it out (albeit only since the end of last year), Jim Allchin, has just taken two months leave of absence (at least, as some sources have it). So Jim did it on remote, as no doubt he'll be able to do the big NGWS announcement, due next week. The trick, of course, is that if you just keep releasing beefed-up service packs of Win9x it's easy to make the schedules, whereas (as Jim knows to his cost) if you design whole new ones like Win2k, it's impossible.

As Windows ME is (at time of writing at least) the absolutely last rev of Win9x code, we may have an explanation as to why Jim feels the need to go lie down for a bit. ®

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