As exclusively revealed in PC Dealer two weeks ago Microsoft rolled out version 4 of Windows NT to manufacturing on 31 July. But as that announcement happened, it emerged that Microsoft will deliver a beta version of NT 5 to developers in November this year.
Anne Mitchard, marketing manager for desktop systems at Microsoft UK, said the company would tell the channel this week about initiatives intended to get them up to speed on the OS, which uses the W95 interface over the NT kernel.
'We'll announce various seminars for our channel partners in the next week,' she said. 'There will be a series of events and we'll give aid to the channel for NT Server, NT Workstation and Office 97.'
Andrew Lees, director of the desktop business unit at Microsoft UK, said MS will bundle a number of Internet products with the OS including version 2 of its browser, Internet Explorer. Mitchard said although NT will now boast a 95 interface, she expected people to still buy W95.
'Windows NT 4 doesn't have plug-and-play and it won't have for some time,' she said. Performance wasn't affected by the W95 front end, and she said NT 4 will work faster than NT 3.51.
Mitchard denied that OEMs would be caught unawares by the speed of NT 4 going to manufacture. 'A large proportion of OEMs will install NT Workstation by default on Pentium Pros,' she said. 'W95 is not optimised for the Pro platform.'
Hardware vendors including ALR, Compaq, Dell and HP were quick to announce they would ship the OS on their platforms.
But the news seems to have caught one major OEM, at least, on the hop.
Sources at the IBM PC Company said last week that it was still testing the OS at its US labs. 'We're not going to just slap it on because Microsoft says it's ready,' he said.
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