As the world awaits Microsoft's 32-bit Windows XP, the company announced on Wednesday that it was shipping beta versions of two 64-bit operating systems that will run on systems built on the upcoming Intel Itanium chip.
The software giant said its 64-bit Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition will ship with Itanium-based systems, probably in the third quarter.
Scheduled to ship in October alongside XP is a workstation version of XP built for 64-bit processing. Microsoft's move is another effort to chip away at Unix in computer intensive environments that require a faster and more robust operating system.
Microsoft is taking all the lessons it has learned from the PC environment and applying them to the "very high-end technical computing space", said Greg Sullivan, XP product manager.
Although the company acknowledges that the new systems are aimed at early adopters, Microsoft has taken the unusual step of providing product support for both the 64-bit betas.
Gartner analyst John Enck said that it would prompt more people to look at this new Windows/Intel combination.
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