A third and final test version, or beta, of the upgrade to Microsoft's Windows NT operating system for corporations, now called Windows 2000--has been pushed back to April of this year. But the company said it is committed to delivering a final version before the end of 1999.
"That remains, absolutely, our expectation," said Ed Muth, group product manager for Windows NT Server. Microsoft executives said it is "unlikely" that the operating system will be delivered before Labor Day, meaning that its introduction will probably be pushed to the fourth quarter at the earliest.
The Windows 2000 upgrade, formerly known as Windows NT 5.0, is noteworthy because it represents the company?s most ambitious bid to tackle the corporate software market--a huge opportunity currently dominated by various flavors of Unix and other so-called big iron alternatives from the likes of IBM and Digital Equipment, now a subsidiary of Compaq Computer.
Microsoft's previous plans--revised from original expectations--had anticipated delivery of a third beta by the end of March. Executives at the firm said a second release candidate for the third beta will still be in the hands of testers at that time.
"It doesn't pay to scrimp at this point in the process," Muth said. "We're on the home lap, and we're feeling very good about the product. In the greater scheme of things, this is not something we want to lose sleep over."
Muth said a likely target for delivery of the third beta is the third week of April. After that, he said at least ten weeks of feedback from customers would be allowed before the company proceeds.