Microsoft sparked a mixed reaction among its channel ranks last week when it announced it would rename version 5.0 of Windows NT as Windows 2000. While some complained the move would confuse the market, others believed the marketing ploy would have little effect on their business.
Microsoft's reincarnation of Windows NT will see NT workstation 5.0 become Windows 2000 Professional and Windows Server 5.0 transformed to Windows 2000 Server. Specific market-focused products are also being released under the Windows 2000 banner.
These include: Windows 2000 Advanced Server and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, which supports a 16-way SMP (symmetric multiprocessing) and 64GB of physical memory.
Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 98 products will keep their current names, officials said. The company has not yet announced what the specific name of the upgrade to Windows 98 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 the company.
One reseller, Patrick Burke, the director of Hardware Software Anywhere, complained that "the new arrangements are confusing, and instead of simplifying the issues and applications of the operating system Microsoft is making them more complex and harder to find relevant systems".
Ron Gauci, director of Melbourne reseller Ausmosys, believed that as long as Microsoft delivers a package that has good features and benefits, its extensive marketing would alleviate any stress that might be caused by the change in name or Windows 2000's treacherous set-up.