The word has come down from on high: Memphis, the code-name for the next version of Windows, will ship to retailers in time for this Christmas. Microsoft sent a letter to thousands of its Solution Providers this week detailing the release schedule for Memphis. Here are the important points:

  • Memphis beta 2 will be released to manufacturing on July 23 and be given to 10,000 beta testers within two weeks.
  • Release Candidate 1 will ship to a small group of testers no later than August 29. If necessary, several release candidate builds can follow.
  • The golden masters of the final release will be sent to manufacturing around October 15th.
  • Initial shipments of Memphis will reach retailers no later than November 1st.
The letter also mentioned Windows NT 5.0, whose beta will begin in August. Beta 2 is due in December. Microsoft will then ship the golden masters of NT 5.0 to manufacturing in March 1998 with an April 1998 retail release. The first service pack for Windows NT 5.0--known as "release A"--is due in June 1998.

Finally, the letter details the final release date of IE 4: August 30, 1997 with widespread availability in September