Accelerated Sales Ramp
This move to 64-bit technology moves what was thought to be the trigger event for a hardware sales ramp from the Longhorn timeframe, 2006/07, to the Windows XP 64-bit Edition timeframe, 2004/05, or significantly sooner than had been expected. The combination of a Service Pack 2 (SP2)-based, 64-bit version of Windows coupled with the hardware platform changes expected this year should result in desktop and mobile platforms that are vastly more secure and reliable by the end of 2004 than had been expected.Microsoft says its upcoming Windows 64-bit client for extended systems wont include support for some legacy subsystems, including 16-bit support. Click here to read more.This also suggests that the life cycle of non-64-bit hardware on the market today will be unusually short because it will support neither the Windows 64-bit platform nor the critical NX extensions needed to fully take advantage of SP2, the most powerful security-oriented patch that has ever been released by Microsoft. The dual-core aspect of the announcement, while important for performance, has only an indirect impact on security. This indirect impact is that secondary security applicationsvirus checkers, spyware eliminators and desktop spam filtersshould run with substantially reduced performance impact on the end user. But they will continue to run on single-core systems, and performance hasnt been a market driver for some time, while security is typically No. 1 or No. 2 on the priority list for IT. Buy plans should, therefore, shift out until this new hardware is available, particularly with desktop systems where service life longer than three years is planned. Laptops, which have a typical two-year service life, are less exposed, but clearly NX support will be critical for them as well. Overall, you should favor systems with NX support and 64-bit extensions over other hardware for service life and begin considering the 64-bit version of Windows on new hardware in 2005, which suggests trials as early as the second half of 2004 for companies that are aggressive on technology. The market has made it clear that it will not tolerate the lack of security on current-generation systems. The vendors are stepping up, and it is now up to the IT organizations to cycle out the hardware they have been complaining about. Rob Enderle is the principal analyst for the Enderle Group, a company specializing in emerging personal technology. Full disclosure: One of Enderles clients is Microsoft as well as Advanced Micro Devices, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Transmeta, VIA and Vulcan. In addition, Enderle sits on advisory councils for AMD, ClearCube, Comdex, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and TCG. Check out eWEEKs Desktop & Notebook Center at http://desktop.eweek.com for the latest news in desktop and notebook computing.