Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates said Tuesday at his Spring Comdex keynote speech that Windows NT would receive $1 billion this year, almost half of Microsoft's entire R&D budget. According to Gates, some developers already have an early alpha of Windows NT 5.0. A beta program for the next version is due to begin in the Fall. Final shipment of NT 5.0 is expected in early 1998. The 5.0 version will work more closely with Internet standards and will use public key encryption technology, he said.

"At the server level," Gates said, "this is our product."

$400 million of Microsoft's R&D budget will go toward improving desktop applications such as Office.