Microsoft yesterday released to testers Beta 2 of the next release of its consumer version of Windows, codenamed Millennium.
The chief focus of Millennium is home networking, according to a Microsoft representative. Beta 2 includes enhancements to Internet Connection Sharing technologies to facilitate home networking, as well as broader support for networking hardware.
Beta 2 also introduces the operating system's first implementation of Universal Plug and Play support, according to Microsoft.
The Millennium release of Windows, expected to ship in the second half of 2000, is expected to be the last OS based on the Windows 9x kernel. Microsoft intends to move to a consumer version of Windows NT after that. In fact, that plan has been postponed once already, because the company has been focusing on Windows 2000, the upgrade to Windows NT 4.0.
Along with home networking, Millennium focuses on simplicity and "self-healing" technologies, digital media and entertainment, and enhancing users' online experience.
Microsoft plans to release at least one more beta version of Millennium, probably in the first quarter of 2000.