Microsoft Windows Group Product Manager Rob Bennett tells Jennifer Edstrom of Bridge News that PC Magazine's John Dvorak has it all wrong when it comes to Windows 2001, the supposed consumer follow-up to Windows 98. Dvorak had anonymously received a package of PowerPoint presentation slides that purports to show the development of "Neptune," which he described as the codename for Windows 2001. It turns out that things are a bit more complicated than that.

First of all, Bennett says, he's never seen the particular "plan" that Dvorak mentions and refuses to vouch for its authenticity, citing the confusion it will no doubt cause for consumers.

"Any document he might have gotten, if it was a valid document, would only represent one point of view. There are hundreds of these types of plans that go around Microsoft every day. Nothing has been decided for the next major consumer version of Windows based on NT," Bennett told Edstrom. "The thing is more of a disservice to customers at this point because it doesn't represent something they can realize the benefits of today."

In other words, the documents Dvorak received could very well have come anonymously from someone at Microsoft, but they only represent one of many views that various employees have about the next version of Windows.

Bennett also sheds some light on the name "Neptune," saying that it is not the codename for the next consumer version of Windows but rather a codename for a set of generic technologies Microsoft is planning to add to future versions of Windows. On that note, it can be compared to "Cairo," which was the codename for various NT-related technologies in the early 1990's. Most people thought that Cairo was the codename for a then-future version of NT (it wasn't) and I've even seen some people refer to Windows 2000 as "Cairo" (it isn't). Incidentally, the Windows 95/98/NT 4.0+ shell (Explorer) is one result of the Cairo technology initiative, although it was seriously scaled back to make it fit on the 16-bit DOS/Windows underpinnings of Windows 95.

Bennett says that Microsoft has no firm plans for a consumer version of Windows other than the previously announced service pack for Windows 98, which will include IE 5.0 and some bug fixes