Microsoft says 64-bit Windows due in April

Windows chief Jim Allchin says the 64-bit desktop version will come early in the month, and a server version will follow at the end of April.

SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft said it plans next month to offer long-awaited 64-bit versions of its Windows operating system.

Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum, Windows chief Jim Allchin said the desktop version of the souped-up Windows would come at the beginning of April, while the server version would come at the end of the month.

"We're locked on to 64-bit," Allchin said, encouraging developers to start tailoring their applications to include the ability to take advantage of the extra processing power.

Last month, Microsoft released a second, near-final "release candidate" version of the operating system. The company had promised a final release would come by the end of June.

The 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 have been a long time coming, particularly for chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, which has offered such chips for roughly two years in the server market and 18 months in the desktop PC market.

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