I obviously misread Microsoft's announcement about the cancellation of Windows 2000 for the Alpha platform because it's even more ominous than I first realized. Microsoft is not only canceling its current 32-bit version of Windows 2000, but it is also ceasing work on the 64-bit version of Windows 2000 for Alpha as well. This means, of course, that Intel remains the only platform on which to run any version of Windows.

"As a result of Compaq's decision, and the strength of Intel's architecture and systems, Microsoft will discontinue development of future 32-bit and 64-bit Alpha products across its existing product line," the announcement reads. "Our 64-bit versions of our products will be targeted at the Intel IA64 \[Merced\] architecture. There will be no future releases of Microsoft products for the 32-bit or 64-bit Alpha platform. This means there will not be 32-bit Alpha versions of Windows 2000, beginning with Release Candidate 2, nor will there be new 32-bit Alpha releases of SQL Server, Exchange, or other 32-bit Alpha BackOffice products. There will also be no 64-bit version of Windows or BackOffice developed for the Alpha platform."

Windows 2000 Release Candidate 2 is due in the first week of September.

Microsoft is careful to note that its 64-bit plans for Windows 2000 are continuing as planned on Intel's 64-bit IA-64 (Merced) platform. In fact, Microsoft will ship its first 64-bit Windows 2000 in mid-2000 when Intel releases the Merced microprocessor.

For more information, please check out the official announcement, which is curiously absent from Microsoft's press release site