Microsofts Next Wave: Media Products

At WinHEC, Microsoft's Jim Allchin pushes the company's next wave of media products, urging attendees write 64-bit drivers.

SEATTLE—Microsoft Corp. executives took the stage at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here on Tuesday morning to give a strong push for the companys next wave of media products.

"The next wave for us is the media wave of products and solutions. But there is one thing missing and the one thing we need from you: 64-bit drivers. You guys have got to write 64-bit drivers," Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin told the several hundred attendees in his keynote address.

Releases for 2004 include the Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, MSN Music, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, portable Windows Media Center and Windows CE 5.0, he said.

As expected, Allchin also spent some time talking about Longhorn, the next version of Windows expected to ship sometime in 2006.

The first beta for Longhorn will ship next year, Allchin said, also confirming that Microsoft is working on the Longhorn client and server releases in tandem, which was first reported in eWEEK.

Allchin said this is a shift in strategy for the company, given that Brian Valentine, Microsofts senior vice president in charge of the Windows core operating system division, last year projected there would be a two- or three-year gap between Longhorn client and server.

On the server side, Allchin said Microsoft is focusing on Windows Server 2003 SP1, which is due by the end of the year. The company is expected to make a number of its 64-bit Windows Server ports available simultaneously with SP1. These include Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition for Intels 64-bit Extended and Itanium processors and Windows Server 2003 Extended Edition for AMD 64-bit Extended processors.

That will be followed by an update to Windows Server 2003 and to the Small Business Server 2003 next year. Windows Storage Server, code-named "Storm," is also due for release next year, Allchin said.

"Turning to the future, the Longhorn team is thinking through fundamentals like deployment; reliability, where reboots became a think of the past; better performance, including advanced virtual memory; better management of the GPU and glitch-free scheduling; as well as security," Allchin said

Longhorn scenarios include watching, listening, playing, communicating, publishing, sharing, creating, organizing, searching, browsing, maintaining, managing and connecting. "The design we are using is a personal one, driven by personas that we have locked onto," Allchin said, adding that while technology is the enabler, "its not just about the technology, its about the experience."

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