After a year of biting its nails, Microsoft says that by the end of this month 1,000,000 units of Windows 2000 server will have been sold. But is this actually good news or bad news? Despite the enthusiastic trumpeting noises coming from Redmond, it kind of depends on how much NT also sold in Win2k's first year, the sum of the two being needed for us to tell how well Microsoft's campaign to dominate the server market is doing.
Some Dataquest Q3 figures for Europe and worldwide maybe put some perspective on the matter. Worldwide total sales were just over a million, so times four that and you get Win2k with something in the region of 25 per cent of the annual market. IDC numbers published last year gave Win2k and NT combined 36 per cent of the market (Linux 24 per cent, Unix 15 per cent). Back of the envelope, that puts Linux and Win2k pretty close, so the claim by Microsoft Windows Product Server Group VP Dave Thompson that "there's not even a close second" does sound like hogwash.
Back at Dataquest we see that "Intel server architectures have been hit the hardest by the market slowdown," with just 1 per cent overall growth in Europe. Internationally Compaq and Dell alone managed convincing year on year growth (20 and 41 per cent respectively), so at least they will have shifted a reasonable quantity of Win2k servers, but the real winner was Sun, with a 104 per cent increase in shipments in Europe, and 72.4 per cent globally. Happy birthday Win2k server - must try harder.
After several weeks of wondering why Microsoft announced DirectX 8.0a but didn't release it, it's finally available at the Web site. As with every other version, this one will provide "updated graphics, faster frame rates, and support for massively multiplayer games."
ActiveWin has posted a comprehensive preview of Office XP Beta 2. Here's a quote: "Over the past few years, Microsoft Office completely changed its look by including some revolutionary applications that most users weren't even able to dream about, like Schedule+, Microsoft FrontPage, a leading website authoring tool, Microsoft PhotoDraw to let corporate users quickly edit and touch up their pictures and many more. Microsoft Office XP should be the first angular stone of the pre-Microsoft .NET strategy even if according to recent reports it'd be less elaborated than expected." As I mentioned in the Woundup a couple weeks ago, this version of Office will be much like Windows Me: a useless upgrade. You'll see two, maybe three new add-ons and the rest will be UI enhancements and the always-large list of bug fixes.
If you run Windows Me on a laptop (I really hope you don't), then you may want to check out this piece at InfoWorld. Power in laptops is a scarce commodity, so doing everything possible to save it is really valuable. Brian Livingston will show you some tips and tricks you can use on Windows Me.
One excellent feature that Windows Me has is the less than 30 second boot-up time. Although if you end up loading application after application to any Windows version, you can end up with a boot-up time well over a minute. 3D Spotlight has a guide with an overwhelming amount of tips and tricks for you to use to cut that time in half! Some tips require tweaking of the registry, so be sure to back it up before you go snooping around.
This week's Windows Roundups
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