Microsoft began shipping the second beta version of Windows NT 5.0 operating system today, which will go out to as many as 200,000 users worldwide.
The beta version, which was originally scheduled to ship on June 30, is believed to contain most of the features of the final version, including directory service software. Microsoft has said it has eliminated most of the main bugs, or ?showstoppers? in NT 5.0.
The Windows NT Forum in the UK is one of the second beta test sites, and received the beta version today. Simon Moores, chairman of the Forum, said he expected Microsoft to have worked on simplifying the product.
?Microsoft is trying to tighten down the code by removing what it doesn?t need. At 30 million lines of code it?s still a very big product,? he said.
While Microsoft originally expected NT 5.0 to ship in the first half of this year, analysts believe it won?t now ship for another year at least, which could mean Microsoft will have lost the chance to sell it into organisations as an alternative to fixing their Year 2000 problems.
However, the delay has also been seen as helping to boost sales of NT 4.0 as organisations decide not to wait for 5.0.
Kirsten Ludvigsen, programme manager for IT market watcher International Data Corporation said users would want to evaluate NT 5.0 before they used it. ?That?s what any sensible lan manager would do,? she said.
A spokesperson for Microsoft UK declined to comment.
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