Microsoft Predicts 1,000 Third-Party Apps for W2K Launch

BOSTON -- Microsoft's mid-February rollout of Windows 2000 will go hand-in-hand with the launches of about 1,000 third-party applications written for the new operating system, company officials said at Microsoft TechNet, held here in late October.

Microsoft representatives also said Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN) members will get early dibs on W2K, obtaining the final code in December when it is expected to go gold.

In addition to these expected 1,000-or-so third-party applications from ISVs, Windows 2000 will also be able to run existing Windows NT applications, said Jeff Raikes, group vice president for Microsoft, during a keynote speech at the conference.

These 1,000 applications, however, should not be confused as 1,000 Windows 2000 Certified applications. Microsoft has said that it expects only 100 to 125 applications would make it through the third-party-verified certification process by June. The first piece of certified software was recently announced by Caere Corp. (see related story on this page). The Windows 2000 Ready classification, on the other hand, applies to applications that ISVs internally tested on Windows 2000.

Microsoft officials say many existing NT applications will run on Windows 2000, but there could be some glitches. Some ISV installation procedures that search for a specific version of Windows NT or a particular service pack will run into problems, and Windows 2000 does not support the 16-bit applications that ran on Windows NT.

The final beta code for Windows 2000, Beta 3 Release Candidate 3 (RC3), was expected to come out as this issue went to press. Unlike RC2, RC3 is scheduled to go only to members of the W2K technical beta program.

"These are the people who actually give us input on our code," says Stephen J. Carbone, technology specialist – infrastructure, southeast New England region, at Microsoft.

The RC3 code is expected to be substantially the same as an incremental build released to the technical beta group in October, according to one beta tester.

In the step release, Microsoft added a Telnet server, says Scott Burgess of Xpedior Inc. (www.xpedior.com), which has been piloting a Windows 2000 beta test at a Fortune 500 firm with a global network of 25,000 seats.

Microsoft is also working with ISVs to enlist support for the Active Directory at the heart of Windows 2000, Carbone says. He cites SAP, PeopleSoft, and Cisco as examples of the types of vendors that Microsoft has approached in this area.

The company is looking at long lead times for acceptance of the Active Directory. Microsoft isn't anticipating industrywide support for Active Directory for eight to 10 years, Carbone acknowledges.