Fresh delays in beta versions of Windows NT 5.0 mean companies will have to wait even longer than expected to upgrade to the much vaunted improvements in the new version.
Microsoft admitted today that the second beta releases of Windows NT workstation and server 5.0 will not be made available to beta testers until around August, almost three months later than previously planned.
"In early May, based on the feedback that we had received from customers who worked with the interim builds distributed since beta one, we realised that we would not be able to achieve a June goal for beta two," a statement from Microsoft explained.
Microsoft said it has also added a third beta release to the development schedule, which while it could cause further delays, will at least reduce some of the criticism Microsoft gets from the industry for releasing software without sufficiently testing it for bugs.
Delays in beta versions invariably mean a knock-on effect to the release date of the full product. While Microsoft is verging on the paranoid about discussing likely shipping dates of the finished version of NT 5.0, the analyst community is expecting the big day to be sometime during summer 1999.
For Microsoft this may not be ideal timing. Analysts have already raised doubts about whether companies will want to face the major challenge of an NT upgrade just at the time they are also facing system changes to cope with the Year 2000 problem and possibly software conversion to handle the Euro currency.
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