The naysayers that think Windows 2000 won't ship in 1999 are in for another shock: Senior Microsoft Vice President Jim Allchin says that the first release candidate (RC1) of Windows 2000 will ship by the end of this month... right on schedule. Allchin, who commented on the Windows 2000 schedule at a briefing for IDG editors and reporters, says that Windows 2000 will ship in 1999.

"I haven't seen anything that in any way makes me worried," he said. "Reliability should be very good."

When Microsoft shipped Windows 2000 Beta 3 in late April, Microsoft's Brian Valentine promised release candidate builds every 6-8 weeks. If Microsoft hits its late June target, the first release candidate will come in right on schedule. In mid-August, the company will release RC2, Allchin says. And six to eight weeks after that is, well, the October release date I've been talking about for so long.

Allchin also said that Microsoft will release Service Pack 6 for Windows NT 4.0 this fall. And a 64-bit version of Windows 2000 will ship in mid-2000 with Intel's upcoming "Merced" chip, the company's first 64-bit design