Analysts, users not surprised by NT 5.0's lag

Windows NT 5.0 is shaping up to be Microsoft's new year 2000 problem, because that's when several industry seers are predicting it will finally will be ready for the enterprise.

"You do not want to be the first kid on the block to deploy it, so you wait six or nine months for the first service pack, then you wait for that to be proven stable," said Michael Gartenberg, a Gartner Group analyst. Gartner last week began advising its US customers to put off NT 5.0 until 2000.

"Windows 98 was in Beta 2 last year, and it took them a year to get that relatively minor update out the door," Gartenberg said.

The software giant has added another formal beta cycle, its third, to the testing of NT 5.0 -- which Microsoft originally had planned to have on shelves by now. Release of Beta 2 also has been postponed, from the first half of the year to probably late July or August.