Microsoft has officially given the name Windows 98 to the next generation of its operating system, currently codenamed Memphis. It will ship Windows 98 in the first quarter of next year.
Company officials claimed that Microsoft never intended to name the product Windows 97, although it originally said the product would go on general release this year.
Last week the software giant briefed press and analysts on the future path of Windows CE, the handheld version of the OS, Windows 98 and NT. Its vision is that the trio will run on devices ranging all the way from in-car systems to handheld PCs and business servers.
According to Anne Mitchard, personal systems and internet group manager at Microsoft, the company is already close to announcing CE on in-car systems. It will also ship an OEM adoption kit to enable developers to take different elements of the cut-down operating system and embed it in a range of consumer devices.
Microsoft officials promised that the company would slash the cost of managing an environment built around NT 5 servers and Net PCs by 46 per cent. IT managers should see savings of 41 per cent by using Windows-based terminals, which will be launched by the end of the year.
The savings are less than in a Net PC site because servers will need to get fatter, according to Jeremy Gittins, Windows and total cost of ownership marketing manager at Microsoft.
Information and applications on each user?s PC can be copied to the server so that users can log on and use their own applications from any PC. This feature will not be available on the current version of NT.
A management console will also be available in NT 5 that will enable administrators to manage the entire Windows 98 and NT 5 environment from one place. A small business version of Microsoft Backoffice will ship later this year.
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