I feel like one of those music boxes you crank up with a little key. Since publishing my report Thursday morning about the new and improved plans for releasing Windows 2000, I've heard from a wide range of people in and around Microsoft. And virtually every message I've gotten about this is contradictory. I floated the idea of a Microsoft conspiracy around to some friends and colleagues, but no one seemed interested (guess I better stop reading those JFK books). So instead, I'll just tell you what I've heard.

And none of it makes sense.

OK, we've all heard the November RC3/December RTM dates. And last week I heard (from a variety of sources, incidentally) about RC3 this Wednesday and RTM on November 15th (the first day of Comdex). Since publishing this information, I've been approached with the following possibilities, all from reputable sources (which is what makes this so amazing):

  • Windows 2000 RC3: December 1, RTM: February 17 (launch event)
  • Windows 2000 RC3: October 27, RTM: December
  • Windows 2000 RC3: November 17, RTM: January
It goes on. But the point of all this is that guessing RTM dates for Windows 2000 is folly. Being a fool, however, I think I'll go out on a limb and just make some predictions. Previous to this, all of the information I've published has been based on insider information; if dates went south (like, say, the original October 6th RTM date), then it was because Microsoft missed its own milestones and was forced to change the date themselves. In this case, however, I've gotten so much contradictory information that I'm forced to wade through the possibilities and just wing it. So the following is simple conjecture and nothing more.

I think RC3 is going to be delivered this week. And I think that Microsoft will announce the release to manufacturing of Windows 2000 at Fall Comdex, when Bill Gates gives his keynote address on the 14th. Whether it happens that week or not, who knows? But I bet it does. And I also think we'll see Windows 2000 in retail stores before February 1, 2000.

So there you go. Confused? Welcome to the club. :)

--Pau