Last week Microsoft changed the name of NT 5 to Windows 2000. PC Week's Andy Favell talked to Andrew Lees, the newly appointed director of Microsoft UK's Organisation Customer Unit about the name change.
PC Week: Has NT 5 been renamed Windows 2000 because it will be coming out in 2000?
Lees: We don't know when it's going to come out. We think it will be in the middle of 1999. The first version will be 100% 32-bit but there will also be a 64-bit version of the server product. We already have a 64-bit version of NT on Alpha and we will have a 64-bit Intel version on the day that Merced comes out. It's not clear which one will have the most volume so we will offer 64-bit Windows 2000 on both.
Moving from 16- to 32-bit was an architectural change; going from 32- to 64-bit is a different scale of magnitude; it's just basically creating more space for addresses - we are not changing the way that addresses work
PC Week: Is this the death knell for Windows 98? How long will you support it?
Lees: We will support it as long as people want it. For business, we expect Windows 2000 Professional (the client version of Windows 2000) to become the mainstream business desktop. However, Windows 98 has still got a place, predominantly in the home market.
PC Week: Will Windows 2000 take up more room on the hard disk?
Lees: Windows 98 has 17 million lines of code and Windows 2000 has 30 million - but that doesn't necessary mean that the footprint is twice as big. Storage used to be a problem when you had 20Mb of hard disk but that isn't the case now that the smallest hard disks are 1Gb.
PC Week: What preparations have you made for the launch?
Lees: We are going through renaissance in the way the new 2000 (series of) products work - Office 2000, Windows 2000, SQL Server 7, and the new version of Exchange (due within 90 days of the launch of Office 2000).
The main thing that is different is the amount of investment that we are making around these products is that we don't want "turbo lag"; that's where there's not enough skills among our partners to meet demand.
PC Week: How much money have you spent on training people with partners like ICL, KPMG, and Computacenter?
Lees: I haven't added it up - a lot, a phenomenal amount.
PC Week: Intel has become increasingly enthusiastic about expanding its share of the Unix market? Has your relationship with Intel soured?
Lees: In much the same way as we make NT for Alpha, Unix is available on the Intel platform. The relationship is certainly as good as it has always been, despite what you read in the press.
Today we cover 80-85% of all the key applications. We outsell all the flavours of Unix. In fact, in the UK, NT must be almost double. So Intel will, of course, support Unix but who will they work more closely with?
PC Week: There has been a lot of interest recently in the provision of applications on a rental basis over the Internet. Has Microsoft considered this?
Lees: Currently there are bandwidth issues with doing that. It is not a scenario that either customers or ISPs are asking for. In the future it may be offered by ISPs or facilities management companies using ISPs' pipes.
PC Week: Would you consider selling software over the Internet?
Lees: Directly? Not in the foreseeable future. It would put us in conflict with our partners. Customers who want to buy over the Web can buy our products from partners like Action Computer Supplies.
PC Week: As software becomes more of a commodity, would you consider widening your services business?
Lees: Absolutely not. Unusually among software companies, our service revenue is only 2% - it has stood us in very good stead.
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