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Microsoft execs show off NT 5.0

Microsoft executives today sketched out a future where all computing technology works together and where the company's NT operating system will play an increasingly important role.

LONG BEACH, California--Microsoft executives today sketched out a future in which all of the company's platforms will be interoperable, cheap to maintain, and easy-to-use; this is a picture they've painted many times in the past but now they want developers to believe that it's really possible.

In consecutive morning keynote speeches to developers at the Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference, Paul Maritz, Microsoft's group vice president of platforms, and Jim Allchin, vice president of the desktop and business systems division, gave vague descriptions of a wide array of upcoming products. But they focused their attention on Windows NT 5.0, which is due to hit beta testing some time next year.

One of the highlights of the conference for developers is the chance to take a closer look at Windows NT 5.0, a release that Allchin expects to be an important part of what an ongoing synthesis of networking and computing.

Microsoft's plan for the future, for example, includes combining server applications such as proxy servers, firewalls, communications servers, and unified voice, data, and video directly into the NT server operating system.

Allchin today previewed the new directory service for Windows NT 5.0 as well as the centralized management features of the Microsoft Management Console, which will allow management of multiple directory types, including Novell's Directory Services.

The demonstration also showed for the first time NT's new Active Server component technologies, including message queuing technology, code-named Falcon, and transaction processing technology, code-named Viper. Upon release, Viper is expected to be named the Microsoft Transaction Server.

Both executives also said that the company is working towards a "replumbing" of the Windows multimedia architecture to add enhanced collaboration technologies and further development of the customized desktop concept.