As expected, the company also released Windows Server 2003 Server Pack 1, the basis for the 64-bit updates.
Specifically, Microsoft said that Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard x64 Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Enterprise x64 Edition, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Datacenter x64 Edition and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition all had been released to manufacturing. Further details will be released at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in April.
The 64-bit operating system has been long awaited by both Intel Corp. and especially Advanced Micro Devices Inc., whose 64-bit Athlon and Opteron microprocessors have been forced to run on beta versions of the operating system. Linux distribution vendors, on the other hand, have offered 64-bit versions for months.
"Microsoft believes this is the right time to provide this flexible new OS to customers and, with broad industry partnerships, help usher in a new era of computing," the company said in a statement.
"Partners are embracing 64-bit computing in a meaningful way and the availability of x64 will serve as a catalyst in the market to bring benefits to the mainstream. More than 300 partners from every segment of the industry have demonstrated support for Microsofts x64 platform on both the desktop and the server."