NT5 slips to summer 99, according to the Economist

Rohit Khare (rohit@fdr.ICS.uci.edu)
Thu, 02 Jul 1998 17:22:29 -0700

+ MICROSOFT postponed the next release of its Windows NT operating system
until the summer of 1999, allowing fine-tuning of the software. The
delay had little effect on Microsoft's share price, as such tinkering
is not expected to offset the company's projected 1999 sales of $17

Does it even matter anymore? On one hand, it's a rolling release
system, with pile-on service packs that force ever-more features onto
the base (see security admin's complaints that to fix lame NTLM auth
bugs, they have to install a patch that... adds IE!). On the other,
there's no significant horserace to win. It's not like the
once-projected Taligent vs. OpenStep vs Cairo battle the pre-Web 90's
predicted, is it?

Although: when that race for dominating OO Operating Environments
first was broached in 93, they were all supposed to be duking it out
in the marketplace in 1996. Well, OpenStep shipped in 96 on four
platforms, Taligent finally sank in 97 without releasing, and Cairo,
well, Cairo was the big bad mother Microsoft was going to slam down on
everyone's knuckles, with active content embedding, a working
distributed object protocol, an OO filesystem/database, and a
document-centric UI rolled into NT5.

Does it matter to anyone that they'll have been promising NT5's
feature set for four years by the time it ships? Aren't we all
consenting adults, wise enough to cut through the hype and realize
this kind of preannouncement?

Or are memories that unkind? Go back, ask again: when was Win3 first
floated? When was what became Win95? These are four-year cycles with
up to two years of outright slippage.

But "such tinkering is not expected to offset" jack squat. After all,
Taligent and OpenStep are dead; MacOS X will be selling into an
installed base even smaller than Linux's; and Linux, for that matter,
may be industrial-strength, multiplatform, and easy to install, but it
still won't deliever an iota of the "Windows user experience" because
weekend warriors aren't going to be hackig massive new information
management strategies for document repositories, information
visualization, or massively optimized runtimes and wire protocols for
DO (apologies to IronDoc, btw).