Systems Integrator Data#3 said yesterday it expected to launch its Windows 2000 Partner Program in one of the first public votes of support from the channel for the as-yet unreleased operating environment.
Meanwhile, Microsoft announced yesterday it is aiming for February 17 as the retail release date for Windows 2000 at its Partner Marketing Day in Las Vegas.
The company is still aiming to have Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server released to manufacturing during calendar year 1999, and says that February 17, 2000 will be the launch date, provided that feedback from early-adopter customers is positive.
Data#3 describes its program as the "largest professional services readiness exercise" in its 22-year history.
The Windows 2000 Partner Program will see Data#3 provide a range of education and support services for customers planning to implement or deploy the operating system.
Services include a two-day consulting workshop, a 12-month seminar program focusing on strategic and tactical Windows 2000 topics, and access to Data#3's Windows 2000 labs where customers can test applications and various configurations of Windows 2000.
Data#3 director, Charles Tym, commented in a statement yesterday that the company believes Windows 2000 will deliver "lower total cost of ownership coupled with improved levels of reliability, scalability andease of management".
"Data#3's Windows 2000 Partner Program is designed to help CIOs, CFOs and other IT management understand how their organisations can benefit from the enterprise capabilities of Windows 2000," he said.
Commenting on Windows 2000's February release, Tony Wilkinson, Microsoft Australia's Windows product marketing manager, said the products will be available through the normal retail channels, with OEM channels expected to receive the products at the same time. Wilkinson also confirmed that Microsoft still aims to have product development complete by the end of 1999.
With no apparent sense of irony -- considering the uncertainty that has for years surrounded the final launch date of the operating system -- Deborah Willingham, vice president of Microsoft's Business Enterprise Division at Microsoft, was quoted in a press release as saying: "We are thrilled that customers and partners can build their plans around the general availability of Windows 2000."