Microsoft working on NT 5.1 and 6.0

As reported previously in WinInfo, Microsoft is already thinking ahead past the release of Windows NT 5.0, with two more upgrades to its operating system strategy. Windows NT 5.1--code-named "Asteroid"--will follow close on the heels of NT 5.0, adding more 64-bit support, better clustering, a new client-server storage scheme, and other features. Windows NT 6.0, which is code-named "Neptune," will include a consumer version that will replace the Windows 9x line. NT 6.0 is still at least three years away, of course.

"NT 5.0 is not the be-all, end-all," said Microsoft Senior VP Jim Allchin keynote at this week's Windows NT 5.0 Technical Workshop. Allchin's address provided some key details about future versions of NT. He said that post-NT 5.0, the operating system would offer up a simpler user interface that was maintenance free. He admitted that Microsoft hasn't done a good job up until now keeping things simple and promised that the Win32 API--the very basis for all Windows 9x/NT programming--would be unified with Web APIs in the near future. Allchin also described the company's plans to scale NT both to the upper reaches of multi-processing servers and to small embedded devices.

Whatever the schedule, one thing is clear: Microsoft's future is "NT everywhere.

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