Dell will be the first PC maker to factory install the beta 3 version of Microsoft?s Windows 2000 operating system for its corporate customers.
The beta operating system will be installed on a number of select desktops and notebooks from PC makers.
Dell will pre-install the beta 3 version of Microsoft's Windows 2000 operating system on select models of its Poweredge servers, Dell Precision workstations, Optiplex business desktops and Latitude notebook PCs.
Dell will offer Windows 2000 beta training courses and limited telephone technical support with the PCs.
The direct PC vendor said it expects to begin taking a limited number of orders in late May in the US, with delivery expected in June.
Nick Eades, product marketing director for Dell in the UK and Ireland, said that it would not be far behind the US dates.
?It is simply down to configuring keyboards,? he said.
It has had a lot of interest in the beta from both corporates and smaller enterprises, he claimed.
?By pre-installing it they get it the way we believe it works best on our machines and it gives them the fast start to Windows 2000 they are after,? he said.
"Dell is offering Windows 2000 beta 3 to corporate customers who are ready to begin testing their business software prior to its full rollout," added Carl Everett, senior vice president and general manager of Dell's personal systems group.
Other big PC makers will definitely follow Dell?s lead, say industry watchers.
Microsoft is confident its Windows 2000 evaluation scheme will offer its corporate customers a smooth run through to Windows 2000, which should appear as a full version this autumn.
Corporates are currently hard at work assessing the support for legacy hardware required with Windows 2000 and identifying minimum future hardware requirements.
"We are excited that the industry has mobilised quickly and has put forth a strong foundation for customers seeking to evaluate and test Windows 2000 beta 3,? said Jim Allchin, senior vice president at Microsoft.
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