Coming Monday: WinHEC 2005 Longhorn Preview 

If you want to keep current with Longhorn developments stay tuned to the WinInfo Web Monday morning at 6:00 A.M. Pacific time. I'll publish an exhaustive preview of what you can expect to hear about at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2005 next week. Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates will give a Monday morning keynote address that provides details about Longhorn, the next Windows version. I can't divulge any details yet but Microsoft will be releasing a pre-Beta 1 version of Longhorn at the show. This version is aimed at developers and won't include the Aero UI. Later today I'll also be posting my WinHEC 2005 page on the SuperSite for Windows 2005 and will update it regularly throughout the show. WinHEC 2005 will bring the first big Longhorn news in a long while but the rest of the year will be fast paced as we race through Beta 1 in the summer the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2005 Community Technology Preview (CTP) in September and Beta 2 in the fall. Finally!

Not News Longhorn Server Will Be Both 32-Bit and 64-Bit 

Although there was never really any question about this various reports this week noted that Longhorn Server will ship in 32-bit x86 based and 64-bit x64 and Itanium based versions. That's not news. However, this is news: Microsoft expects x64 to become the volume platform for Windows Server as early as this year, far faster than the transition to x64 is expected to happen on the desktop. By the time Longhorn Server ships in 2007 32-bit versions will be around primarily for legacy upgrades. I bet with most new installations occurring on x64 hardware. The times they are a changin.

Microsoft Ships Windows Server 2003 R2 Beta 2 Public Release Next Week 

Speaking of Windows Server, Microsoft shipped the Beta 2 milestone of the next version of Windows Server 2003, code named R2, to beta testers this week. But I've been told that the company will make this or a similar build available to the public next week to coincide with WinHEC 2005 R2 Beta 1 shipped in December 2004 and the final release is expected in fourth quarter 2005 R2 is the first interim Windows Server release in Microsoft's new Windows Server roadmap and will add support for only a few key features compared with Windows 2003 Service Pack 1 SP1. I'll provide more details about R2 when the public beta ships.

Microsoft Embroiled in Gay Rights Controversy 

Microsoft came under fire from gay rights groups this week when it abruptly pulled its support for a Washington state bill that seeks to end sexual orientation discrimination. Gay rights advocates are accusing the company of bowing to pressure from a powerful church in Redmond, the same city in which Microsoft has its main campus. That's curious. I thought Microsoft purchased Christianity 10 years ago.

Symantec Joins the Antispyware Fray 

If you're into Symantec security software for some reason you can check out the public beta of the company's upcoming Norton Internet Security 2005 AntiSpyware Edition, a product that could probably use a few more words in its title. Building on the muddled mess that is Norton Internet Security, the new version adds (you guessed it) antipsyware technology dubbed Norton Spyware Protection. Find out more and grab the free download on Symantec's site. Just don't blame me if the product is bloated slow and annoying.

Adobe Buys Macromedia 

Speaking of bloated, slow, and annoying, Adobe Systems this week announced that it was effectively ending all competition in the Web graphics market by purchasing its one rival, Macromedia. The stunning deal which will cost Adobe $3.2 billion will lead to the integration of various Adobe and Macromedia products, allowing Adobe to create software suites that will take up more space on your bookshelf than the Windows 2003 Resource Kit and weigh as much as a 2005 Volkswagen New Beetle (the coupe not the convertible). Is anyone else freaked out by this purchase?

PC Growth Stronger Than Expected 

According to IDC and Gartner who, let's face it, are just about my favorite companies on the planet, PC shipments grew approximately 10 percent in the most recently completed quarter providing the industry with better than expected growth. IDC says that PC makers shipped 46.1 million units in the quarter up 10.9 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, Gartner says the figure is 50.4 million units up 10.3 percent Dell remains the biggest PC maker in the world with 16.9 percent to 18 percent market share, depending on whom you ask. In related news, Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin this week asserted that Windows will be installed on more than 730 million PCs by the end of 2005 an astonishing figure. We're going to have to find life on other planets before Microsoft can grow its usage share any further.

Could It Be A Single Format Next Generation DVD in the Works 

In a blockbuster development that could have huge implications for, well, Blockbuster, the DVD rental company Sony and Toshiba are unexpectedly discussing the possibility of dropping their currently incompatible next generation DVD formats and jointly pursuing a single high definition DVD standard. My goodness! Are we really learning the lessons of the past for a change? Currently, Sony is backing a next generation format called Blu-ray whereas Toshiba backs a competing format called HD DVD. Both formats have pros and cons, but the biggest problem is the incompatibility. In the early days of PC based DVD burning for example differences between the so called plus DVD-R-DVR-RW and minus DVD-R-DVD-RW formats slowed adoption and bedeviled consumers. But the high definition technologies are far more important because the market is so much bigger. Will the companies work it out? Stay tuned. But my guess is that we're going to still face another DVD format war regardless.

AMD Ships Dual Core Opterons Desktop Chips on Tap for June 

Following in Intel's steps chipmaker AMD this week released its first dual core chips. The dual core AMD Opteron chips are aimed at servers not desktops but AMD says that it will have dual core Athlon 64 processors available by June turning up the heat on Intel. Intel, meanwhile shipped a high end desktop oriented dual core chip earlier this month and will follow that release with cheaper dual core desktop chips this summer and dual core server chips next year. If you want to find out more about dual core technology check out the article What to Expect from AMD's Dual Core Processors.

Next Week WinHEC

Did I mention yet that WinHEC 2005 is next week? I'll have lots of news so stay tuned. My first blog entries will be available here over the weekend.