Microsoft Renames Windows NT 5.0 Product Line to Windows 2000; Signals Evolution of Windows NT Technology Into Mainstream
Oct. 27, 1998
New Packaging Expands Customer Choice and Unifies Naming for Client and Server

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 27, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced at a press conference in San Francisco that the next major release of the Microsoft® Windows NT® operating system line of products - the most significant update to Windows NT ever - will be named Windows® 2000. This announcement reflects the continuing and substantial marketplace momentum driving Windows NT-based products into the mainstream for millions of business customers worldwide.

With this announcement Windows NT Workstation 5.0 becomes Windows 2000 Professional and Windows NT Server 5.0 becomes Windows 2000 Server. Businesses, work-at-home professionals and mobile users will benefit from the new, more consistent packaging and the features of Windows 2000. The company also said it will use the tag line " Built on
Windows NT technology" with Windows 2000 products to help the many customers who know and understand the value of the Windows NT architecture.

Also, today Microsoft announced an expanded line of server product offerings to better address specific customer scenarios. Windows 2000 server products now include Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, a new packaging option being discussed for the first time today.

"Windows NT was first released five years ago as a specialized operating system for technical and business needs," said Jim Allchin, senior vice president of the personal and business systems group at Microsoft. "Today it has proven its value as the preferred technology for all users who want industry-leading cost effectiveness, rich security features and demonstrated scalability. Windows NT will be the basis for all Microsoft PC operating systems from consumer products to the highest-performance servers. Windows NT is going mainstream." "The new name also serves our goal of making it simpler for customers to choose the right Windows products for their needs," said Brad Chase, vice president of marketing for the personal and business systems group at Microsoft. "The new naming system eliminates customer confusion about whether 'Windows NT' refers to client or server technology. Also, it was time to eliminate the term 'workstation' from Windows NT Workstation. With improvements across the board in ease of use, mobile support and total cost of ownership, Windows 2000 Professional is the right choice for all business users. It's no longer just for high-end workstations."

Although Windows 2000 is expected to ship in 1999, it will be a major milestone product deployed throughout the year 2000.

The following products now make up the Microsoft Windows 2000 line of products:

  • Windows 2000 Professional (formerly Windows NT Workstation 5.0) will be the Microsoft mainstream desktop operating system for businesses of all sizes. Windows 2000 Professional will deliver the easiest Windows-based environment yet, the highest level of security, state-of-the-art features for mobile users, industrial-strength reliability and better performance (with two-way SMP) while lowering the total cost of ownership through improved manageability.

  • Windows 2000 Server (formerly Windows NT Server 5.0) will offer industry-leading functionality and will support new systems with up to two-way SMP. Ideal for small to medium-sized enterprise application deployments, Web servers, workgroups and branch offices, this version of Windows 2000 is expected to be the most popular server version. Existing Windows NT Server 4.0 operating systems with up to four-way SMP can be upgraded to this SKU.

  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server (formerly Windows NT Server 5.0 Enterprise Edition) will be a more powerful departmental and application server, and will also provide rich NOS and Internet services. Supporting new systems with up to four-way SMP, this new product offering is ideal for database-intensive work and integrates clustering and load balancing support to provide excellent system and application availability. Existing Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition servers with up to eight-way SMP can install this SKU, which is expected to be priced below today's Windows NT Server Enterprise Edition product.

  • Windows 2000 Datacenter Server (new) will be the most powerful and functional server operating system ever offered by Microsoft. It supports up to 16-way SMP and up to 64 GB of physical memory (depending on system architecture). Like Windows 2000 Advanced Server, it provides both clustering and load balancing services as standard features. It is optimized for large data warehouses, econometric analysis, large-scale simulations in science and engineering, OLTP, and server consolidation projects.

The name changes are effective immediately. Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 98 products will retain their current names

"We're seeing increased customer demand for Windows NT Workstation across our range of business PCs - not just our high-end workstations," said Jacques Clay, vice president and general manager of the extended desktop business unit of Hewlett-Packard Co.'s personal systems group. "This new name more accurately reflects our customers' choice of Windows NT Workstation as the mainstream desktop operating system for all business users."

Worldwide, PC manufacturers are seeing increased customer demand for PCs preinstalled with Windows NT Workstation 4.0. Investing in Windows NT Workstation 4.0 today is the easiest way for corporations to prepare for deployments of Windows 2000 Professional.

"The new capabilities of Windows 2000 Datacenter Server pave the way for customers to take full advantage of enterprise server architectures, such as the Unisys Cellular MultiProcessing (CMP) architecture," said Don Johnson, vice president and general manager of Windows NT Server business at Unisys Computer Systems Group. "Microsoft Windows 2000 will help our mutual customers - especially in financial services and government - to drive down computing costs in mission-critical, high-performance and high-availability applications, which affect the bottom line."

The History of Windows NT

Microsoft formed what was to become the development team for Windows NT in 1988 with the goal of developing a thoroughly modern, fully 32-bit, robust, multipurpose operating system. The first versions of Windows NT - Windows NT 3.1 and Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1 - were released in July 1993. Those first products featured a new micro-kernel operating system architecture, pre-emptive multitasking scheduler, the fault-tolerant file system of Windows NT, multiprocessor support, the 32-bit Windows-based architecture, powerful domain-level security, file and print services, and more.

Windows NT 3.5 followed in September 1994 and featured enhanced performance, richer architecture support and more in-depth tools. Windows NT 3.51, which was introduced in June 1995, added support for Windows 95-compatible application and PCMCIA devices. Windows NT 4.0, which was released in July 1996, added the popular user interface of Windows 95, Microsoft Internet Explorer browsing technologies, enhanced NetWare support and more. Since the introduction of Windows NT 4.0, the product has evolved through four service packs and one option pack, adding and integrating public key and certificate authority functionality, smart card support, improved SMP scalability, clustering, COM, reliable synchronous and queued transaction support, streaming media features, and many Web-relevant browser and server technologies.

From a modest 34,000 licenses sold in fiscal 1994, the company has now sold more than 20 million licenses of Windows NT Workstation and more than 3 million licenses of Windows NT Server.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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