A spokesperson from Microsoft has confirmed that the company has shipped Windows 2000 Beta 3 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) to testers today, also implicitly confirming the release schedule reported earlier in WinInfo. She also commented that the mood at Microsoft was "upbeat" (meaning that the traditional company party for St. Patrick's Day is on) and that the final Beta 3 is on track for release in April as expected.

In related news, Microsoft has begun a new Application Readiness Program for third-party software developers that will attempt to give applications better compatibility with Windows 2000 Beta 3, which will ship April 21st. Microsoft is fighting reports that Windows 2000 has proven to be incompatible with many existing applications.

"I really don't understand that perception," says Craig Beilinson, the Windows 2000 Professional product manager. "The changes that we made in the code that might make programs less compatible weren't even made in Beta 2, but are in Beta 3 instead."

The biggest compatibility issues come from the new security models in Windows 2000. Microsoft says that reliability will come before compatibility.