Here's an interesting twist on the Windows NT 5.0 saga: Microsoft posted a Q&A document on its Web site Tuesday explaining why the OS's release date has slipped. In this document, the company also admits that Beta 2's release date--originally expected by the end of Q2 1998--has slipped to "late summer" (read: September). Microsoft also admits that Beta 2 will not be feature complete.
"The key features for Windows NT 5.0--including IntelliMirror management technologies, Active Directory directory service and Plug and Play support--will be included with beta 2," the Q&A reads. "It is important to remember that this release is still a beta release so there will be bugs, and we will refine the product based on customer feedback."
The third beta release is also explained: previously, Microsoft said that there would only be two beta releases of NT 5.0.
"\[Microsoft is adding a third beta release\] to broaden our testing. A key part of our development process has been to make interim builds available to customers who give us frequent feedback on the status of the product. We have been doing this since beta 1 and will continue to do this after beta 2. We had always planned to make one of these interim builds available to a broad set of customers as a 'beta 2 refresh.' We have recently decided to name this refresh release \[as\] beta 3 and make it available to an even wider set of customers."
What's most interesting about this document, of course, is its explanation of how these changes will affect the final release date of Windows NT 5.0.
"While it is clear that the change in the target date for beta 2 from second quarter to summer had a direct impact on the final ship date of Windows NT 5.0, the change in the name of the "beta 2 refresh" to beta 3 does not affect the overall schedule for Windows NT 5.0, since we had always planned to make this interim build available to customers," the document says.
So, in effect, the release of Windows NT 5.0 has been delayed. Not by a Beta 3 release, but because of the delay in Beta 2.
You can read the whole Q&A on the Microsoft Press Pass Web site