Dear Windows-Help.NET Subscriber,
On the 7th of April, Stave Ballmer, president of Microsoft, announced what we first reported in our Newsletter of 06 February 1999, namely that the next consumer version of Windows will be based on the Windows 98 code, and not on the Windows 2000 code. The announcement was part of his keynote speech, given at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC). The new version will be delivered in the year 2000. He declined to give a name for the product.
The decision to stay with the Windows 98 code-base was taken, according to Ballmer, "to simplify the user experience". There is a longer-term initiative at Microsoft, called the Easy PC Initiative. This is a joint initiative of Microsoft and Intel, and it's designed to focus on a redesign of the PC from a hardware perspective, only using 1394 USB and Device Bay for expansion. Participating in this effort is a wide array of the largest computer makers in the world, including Dell, HP, Compaq, Toshiba, NEC, IBM, Fujitsu, Micron, and Gateway.
Microsoft also debuted a 64-bit Windows 2000 (capable of handling 8 terabytes of memory), showing a machine running SQL server. Program Manager Richard Waymire demonstrated a query, which would have taken 10 minutes on 32-bit Windows 2000, which took just 31 seconds on the 64-bit version. The 64-bit Windows is based on the same source code as the upcoming Windows 2000, Ballmer stressed, but uses a different method of compiling the code. About the availability of the 64-bit Windows 2000 version, Ballmer said: "We will launch a 64-bit version of Windows based upon the Windows 2000 code base as soon as we can after the shipment of Windows 2000".
The 64-bit Windows 2000 performs about 20 times faster than the 32-bit Windows 2000, running SQL Server.
Now is your chance to let Bill Gates know what you would like to see in the next version of Windows. He would like to know what your long-term business needs are from the Windows desktop beyond Windows 2000 Professional.
The New York Times has an interesting article about the reasons behind Microsoft's Shift on Windows (to read this article you need to subscribe [FREE] to the New York Times on the Web).
There has been much confusion about the upcoming upgrade to Windows 98 and the availability of a Service Pack. Here are some facts:
There will be a FREE Service Pack for Windows 98. This will include bug fixes only. According to Windows product manager Mike Nichols, the bug fixes to Windows 98 should be available on the Microsoft Web site within the first half of 1999.
New features available for free download will be Internet Explorer 5.0 (available now) and DirectX 6.2 (and maybe some others).
There will be a new version of Windows 98 by this fall, called Windows 98 Second Edition, which will include bug fixes, drivers and new features such as Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and advanced support for Universal Serial Bus. Win98 SE is slated to hit store shelves at a price of $89 USD, replacing the current Windows 98 version. The Windows 98 StepUp version (for registered Windows 98 users) will be sold directly through Microsoft's Web site, and although Microsoft haven't confirmed a price, sources indicate it would be around the $20 USD range.