Waiting for Windows 2001

Whistler, which the software giant hopes to release in the first half of 2001, apparently will be named Windows 2001. The operating system, which will debut the first pieces of the .NET "software as a service" strategy, entered the beta stage earlier this month.

Although Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates did not refer to that moniker during his Sunday night speech at Comdex in Las Vegas, a company press release claimed that "cutting-edge hardware and software companies are excited and already planning for the Windows 2001 launch."

Microsoft is counting on third-party developers to use Visual Studio.NET and the .NET Framework to build Web services on the .NET platform, which the company hopes will keep Windows relevant in a world that puts a premium on the Internet, not the operating system.

The .NET Framework will provide the "building blocks" in the platform that developers will be able to build from using the tools in Visual Studio.NET, the update to the company's popular Visual Studio toolset.

Microsoft also released another key piece of the .NET strategy, a beta of the .NET Mobile Web Software Development Kit (SDK). The SDK includes a set of mobile server controls that support WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), HTML 3.2, and intelligently format content for different devices from a single Web page, officials said.

The .NET Mobile Web SDK will be integrated into Visual Studio.NET, and eventually will allow developers to build mobile Web applications in a drag-and-drop environment, according to Microsoft.

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