Microsoft decided to clean up its work sheet before entering the new year and as a result killed a version of its Windows XP operating system for Itanium processors. The software enabled Itanium workstations to run the popular software, but Microsoft has given up on that market, claims Neowin.net.
Microsoft has removed all references to 64-bit (IA64) Windows XP from its XP webpage. Neowin quotes an anonymous Microsoft source as saying: "Microsoft has made the decision to focus its investments in research and development on this new x64 (64-bit extended) architecture and discontinue further investments in the Itanium architecture for workstations."
The move by Microsoft won't come as a complete surprise. HP in September decided to kill its line of Itanium workstations running Windows XP for Itanium. Outsmarting HP, Dell bailed the Itanium workstation ship as early as February 2002.
Microsoft deserting the Intel chip marks another nail in the coffin of the failed processor. Intel CEO Craig Barrett used to refer to the Itanium as "our big bad buddy", but the chip has fallen short of every one's expectations.
Especially in the workstation market, Itanium was doomed to fail after both AMD and Intel launched their x64 chip such as the AMD's Opteron and Intel's Xeon, processors that runapplications that are designed for both existing 32 bits and future 64 bits architectures, allowing for a smooth transition to 64 bits. Itanium workstations instead from day one require newly designed software.
Microsoft will continue development of Windows XP for the x64 platform for Opteron and Xeon based workstations.
Microsoft in November dropped support for Itanium in its upcoming Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition, a version of the operating system for high performance computing (HPC). The company felt the processor was "too expensive and too powerful for the small clusters that its target customers will set up in research and corporate environments," concluded IDG News.
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