Originally slated to ship to beta testers by Labor Day, Release Candidate 2 will now ship "sometime in September," according to a company spokesperson. Microsoft has promised that Windows 2000, the successor to the company's Windows NT operating system for businesses, will be out by the end of the year.
Windows 2000, once known as Windows NT 5, has been beset by delays throughout its development process. Microsoft has done everything but promise that the software will ship by the end of the year, but the company admits that if the code is released to CD-ROM manufacturers in December, the product will not be available until January or February. The OS is shipped via CD.
"The manufacturing cycle takes 6 to 8 weeks," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "Microsoft hasn't said it will be on store shelves by the end of the year, just that we hope to finalize the code by the end of the year."
In the meantime, the release candidates are coming fast and furiously. "The plan is to release a new release candidate every six to eight weeks," said David Cole, vice president of the Consumer Windows division at Microsoft at this week's Intel Developers Forum in Palm Springs, California.
In other notes, Cole reiterated the company's marketing strategy for Windows 2000 and for consumer operating systems, such as Windows 98. Windows 2000, based on NT technology, will become the recommended operating system for all business computers, even those for small businesses.
Consumers, meanwhile, will stay with Windows 98 for quite some time. The next consumer Windows OS, code-named Millennium, will come out around "the holiday selling season" late in 2000. It is based on Windows 98, although sources say it contains a number of Windows 2000 elements. The complete transition to the Windows 2000 code-base for Microsoft's consumer operating system will occur after the release of Millennium, he said.
Cole also proved that keeping these tracks clear in the mind is tough for anyone. Speaking of Millennium at the Intel Developers forum, Cole said, "This is based on the Windows 2000, oh, excuse me, on the Windows 9X code base."