Microsoft today announced that it is rechristening the upcoming and long-awaited Windows NT 5.0, which will now be called Windows 2000, in order to more clearly pitch the operating system to mainstream business users.
The name change means that what has been referred to as Windows NT Workstation 5.0 now will be called Windows 2000 Professional, while Windows NT Server 5.0 becomes Windows 2000 Server. The move had been expected.
The company also said it will attach a "Built on Windows NT technology" label on products that work with Windows 2000.
The software giant also announced various flavours of the server product line, tailored to different slices of the market: Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.
Details of the server naming conventions include:
-- Windows 2000 Advanced Server, which has been known up to now as Windows NT Server 5.0 Enterprise Edition;-- Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, a brand new flavour of NT, which will be designed as the most robust server operating system offered by Microsoft, supporting up to 16-way SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) and up to 64GB of physical memory.
The new naming conventions are intended to stress the fact that NT is becoming more mainstream -- albeit still pitched to business users -- and eliminate any prior confusion about which NT flavours were for servers and which were for client machines, according to a Microsoft statement today.
Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 98 products will keep their current names, Microsoft said today. The company has not yet announced what the specific name of the upgrade to Windows 98 -- aimed at consumers -- will be called or when it will ship. However, the upgrade for Windows 98 will incorporate the Windows label in its name and be based on the Windows NT kernel, according to Microsoft's US public relations firm, Waggener Edstrom.
Microsoft also was careful to add in its statement today that, "Although Windows 2000 is expected to ship in 1999, it will be a major milestone product deployed throughout the year 2000."