Microsoft vice president Jeff Raikes confirmed Wednesday that the software giant would release Windows 2000 to manufacturing by the end of 1999 as promised, paving the way for its official launch on February 17, 2000. However, Raikes says that the software will almost definitely become available in the channel and at retail before that date.
"We expect to release Windows 2000 perhaps as early as the end of this year," Raikes said from Tel Aviv, where he was attending a technology conference. "We expect to have released the software prior to \[the February 17 launch\] event."
Raikes comments even open the possibility of Windows 2000 appearing on new computers by the end of 1999, though that scenario seems unlikely. He even touched briefly on possible ramifications of the antitrust trial, which Microsoft is trying to settle. Raikes says he doesn't expect Windows 2000 to be affected at all by the trial.
"We think that if we can come to some resolution with the Justice Department where we would maintain the ability to continue to add new innovations into the operating environment and perhaps make other changes that would make the Justice Department more comfortable, that would be something we would love to discuss. What our competitors would like is for us to get distracted by the trial, by the issues at hand," he said. "There is a lot of activity going on with the trial, but it is most important we remain focused on the customers.