July 31, 1996 8:00 AM PDT

MS rolls out Windows NT 4.0

Microsoft has rolled out its long-awaited Windows NT 4.0 operating system, a new version of the OS that not only adopts the Windows 95 user interface but is expected to quickly gain ground on Windows 95 on corporate desktops.

Windows NT Workstation and NT Server 4.0 will be generally available within the next month, according to an announcement made last night by Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and senior vice president Jim Allchin in Bellevue, Washington.

Microsoft Windows NT Workstation will be available in the next month for about $319. Upgrading from earlier versions of Windows NT Workstation will cost $149.

The company's Windows NT Server 4.0 will cost about $1,129 for a ten-user version. Upgrades will cost $539. The company is listing other pricing information on its Web site.

The NT 4.0 duo introduces a series of features intended to decrease the gap between NT and Windows 95 in terms of ease of use, while maintaining NT's more secure and reliable architecture, and its greedier resource requirements. NT 4.0 Workstation will feature the same interface used for Windows 95, built-in Internet Explorer and Peer Web services for Web publishing to corporate intranets, and better system administration features to help IS managers monitor NT desktops.

NT Server 4.0 will have the same interface and Internet features, plus better performance on systems with multiple processors than its predecessor. Version 4.0 will also be the first to support DCOM (Distributed Component Object Model), a new addition to the OLE architecture that will let OLE components communicate over networks so that distributed applications work better.

To help smooth upgrades from Windows 95 to Windows NT, Microsoft is launching the "Designed for Windows NT" logo program. Products that display the logo will run on both NT Workstation and Windows 95. "The logo program signifies to customers that the products they acquire function on Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and Windows 95, and offer the benefits of 32-bit systems when they are run on either version of Windows," the company said in a prepared statement.

Even before NT 4.0 hits the streets, Microsoft officials are already talking about its successor. As part of the announcement last night, company officials said a preview version of the next generation of NT would be made available at a Microsoft developers conference in November.

Related stories:
Hardware firms embrace NT 4.0
Software firms ready to tweak NT

 

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