As reported previously in WinInfo, Microsoft is already thinking ahead past the release of Windows NT 5.0, with two more upgrades to its operating system strategy. Windows NT 5.1--code-named "Asteroid"--will follow close on the heels of NT 5.0, adding more 64-bit support, better clustering, a new client-server storage scheme, and other features. Windows NT 6.0, which is code-named "Neptune," will include a consumer version that will replace the Windows 9x line. NT 6.0 is still at least three years away, of course.

"NT 5.0 is not the be-all, end-all," said Microsoft Senior VP Jim Allchin keynote at this week's Windows NT 5.0 Technical Workshop. Allchin's address provided some key details about future versions of NT. He said that post-NT 5.0, the operating system would offer up a simpler user interface that was maintenance free. He admitted that Microsoft hasn't done a good job up until now keeping things simple and promised that the Win32 API--the very basis for all Windows 9x/NT programming--would be unified with Web APIs in the near future. Allchin also described the company's plans to scale NT both to the upper reaches of multi-processing servers and to small embedded devices.

Whatever the schedule, one thing is clear: Microsoft's future is "NT everywhere.