A compelling report by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley confirms the report in WinInfo yesterday that Windows Millennium--the next version of Microsoft's Consumer Windows--will not "change the face of computing" but will rather be marketed as a point release to Windows 98, much like Windows 98 SE. And Millennium, as I've pointed out, will not offer a new user interface, but will rather use a version of Explorer that is almost identical to that in Windows 2000.
According to Microsoft, plans for HTML-based Activity Centers in Millennium have been scrapped, though they are expected to appear in Neptune, the Consumer Windows release due after Millennium. However, at least one Activity Center, the Help Center, is present in Windows Millennium Beta 1, which shipped to testers this week.
"\[Activity Centers\] won't be a focus for Millennium, but are part of Microsoft's longer-range consumer OS plans," a corporate spokeswoman told Foley. "It's too early to say how they'll be implemented, but I can say that you won't see them in Millennium, nor will you see a brand-new \[user interface\]." This corroborates my previous reports about Millennium.
As for packaging, there are hints that Millennium might be bound for the OEM channel only, similar to the treatment that Windows 95 OSR-2 received. This means that only users of new computers would be able to get Millennium, as it would be shipped only with new computers. Microsoft says it is not sure how it will package Millennium, however.
"We have made no decisions yet on how we will deliver Millennium," says Art Pettigrue, a product manager in the Consumer Windows Division at Microsoft. "The product is still in early development."
And though Foley was unable to get Pettigrue to comment on the status of MS-DOS in Millennium, I can tell you that MS-DOS is alive in well in the new product, though support for "real mode" DOS programs has ceased. MS-DOS is also not available as a start-up option when you boot Millennium; however, you can run MS-DOS programs such as Duke Nukem 3D or DOOM from within Millennium.
Current builds of Millennium do indeed take up a lot of hard drive space, but not as much as one beta tester, quoted in the Foley report, says. A typical install of Millennium Beta 1 will occupy less than 500 MB, far short of the 2GB reported by the anonymous tester. And much of this space is due to the fact that the OS copies its setup files into the installation so the CD-ROM isn't need later to update system files when needed.
For the original report, please visit the [email protected] Reseller Web site