Microsoft Weighs 32-Bit SBS

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-05-09 Print this article Print

Microsoft Corp. officials are aggressively pushing 64-bit computing across their product line but are stepping back from recent comments that the next version of Windows Small Business Server will be 64-bit-only.

Microsoft Corp. officials are aggressively pushing 64-bit computing across their product line but are stepping back from recent comments that the next version of Windows Small Business Server will be 64-bit-only.

Bob Muglia, Microsofts senior vice president for Windows Server, recently said at WinHEC in Seattle that while the company intends to ship both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of its "Longhorn" client and server software sometime in 2007, it plans to release only a 64-bit version of SBS in that time frame.

That statement made little sense, analysts told eWEEK, as the major benefit of 64-bit computing for small businesses is that it will allow many of their applications to run faster, even those that are 32-bit. However, many small-business workloads today do not need 64-bit computing, a point that many Microsoft officials have themselves conceded.

Guy Haycock, senior product manager for Windows SBS, in Redmond, Wash., said that while the company is still considering whether to release a 32-bit version of SBS, despite what Muglia said last month, Microsoft is still pushing its customers to embrace 64-bit computing. Microsoft "is encouraging customers and partners to begin thinking about the transition to 64-bit computing and preparing for migration of applications [and so on] to the Windows x64 platform," Haycock said.

Stacey Quandt, an analyst at research company Robert Frances Group Inc., of Westport, Conn., said small businesses are most likely to migrate only when they replace existing hardware. "The hurdle Microsoft faces is similar to its introduction of Active Directory, which required customers to upgrade their systems and learn new skills," Quandt said.

Haycock also said Microsoft is on track to deliver Windows SBS Service Pack 1 within a month, adding that Microsoft is encouraging customers to wait for SBS 2003 SP1 before installing Windows Server 2003 SP1 onto their SBS 2003 networks.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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