July 27, 2004 3:52 PM PDT

Microsoft delays Windows Server update, 64-bit OS

Microsoft said Tuesday that it has delayed an update to its Windows Server software as well as the first version of Windows to support 64-bit x86 chips such as Advanced Micro Device's Athlon 64.

The software maker said Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003 for 64-bit Extended Systems and Windows XP 64-bit Edition for 64-bit Extended Systems will all be pushed back until the first half of next year. All three products, which are being developed together, were slated to ship by the end of this year.

The move is a blow to AMD, which has had its 64-bit desktop and server chips on the market for some time and has been waiting for a version of Windows that can take advantage of their capabilities. Intel has also said it will have chips that support the 64-bit extensions to the existing Pentium architecture, known as x86. There is already a version of Windows that supports Intel's 64-bit Itanium architecture, which uses an entirely separate instruction set than x86 chips.

"As is the case with all Microsoft product schedules, the development cycle is driven by quality with a focus on the needs of our customers, rather than an arbitrary date," Microsoft said in a statement.

Insight 64 analyst Nathan Brookwood said that although AMD would benefit from the software's release, the delay should not significantly hurt the ability of AMD's Opteron chip to compete against Intel's Xeon.

"They run very well in 32-bit mode. They are very competitive with Intel's Xeon in 32-bit mode," Brookwood said. The delay could inadvertently give Linux a leg up, Brookwood added, noting that 64-bit versions of that operating system are available that support both IBM's DB2 and Oracle's database software. "People who are motivated by database (performance) may find those environments preferable."

Similarly on the desktop, Brookwood said the delay could push some of those that need the performance gain of 64-bit computing over to Linux. "Again, a lot of the early workstation applications are in technical markets, CAD (computer-aided design) and the like. There Linux, again, is gaining some popularity."

Microsoft's announcement marks the latest in a series of delays for the 64-bit version of Windows XP.

AMD announced its first 64-bit chips in September 2003, at which time Microsoft had planned to release, by the first half of this year, a version of Windows that would support the chips.

Microsoft has also had to push back other versions of Windows. The long-awaited security update to Windows XP--Service Pack 2--has taken longer than expected and is now set to ship in August. Microsoft has also said the next major release of Windows, code-named Longhorn, won't ship until 2006.

11 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Meanwhile in the land of the free...
... Fedora Linux FC2 on Athlon 64 is running nicely. It's a shame that Windows support has slipped.

Ian W.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
64 bit computing is alive & well (except in Redmond)
64 bit dual processor IBM G5 chips have been running Mac OS X
Panther since the beginning of this year. Linux runs on AMD 64
bit chip. Seems as if MS has some 'splainin' to do to its' share
holders. Keeping a monopoly alive with flawed software full of
viruses & DOJ / EU / Lindows / etc lawsuits one after the other,
makes it hard to focus a bloated company on a bloatware OS.
MS is a DOS dinosaur in XP clothing. Open source 64 bit
software is here & now, not a distant pipe dream on Citizen
Gates horizon. Redmond, you have a problem...
Posted by (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why?!
I am a little confused. If you have a 64 bit compiler, the rest should just fall into place shouldn't it? I believe Linux has been 64 bit for several years now with the Itanium and the AMD64. What's the hold up? I thought Microsoft had was "innovative" as they put it. They can't even keep up with current and old innovations that have been around for a while.
Posted by Johnny Mnemonic (374 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Itanium and the AMD64
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/mercedes_cls_class_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/mercedes_cls_class_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by George Cole (314 comments )
Link Flag
Why?!
I am a little confused. If you have a 64 bit compiler, the rest should just fall into place shouldn't it? I believe Linux has been 64 bit for several years now with the Itanium and the AMD64. What's the hold up? I thought Microsoft had was "innovative" as they put it. They can't even keep up with current and old innovations that have been around for a while.
Posted by Johnny Mnemonic (374 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where's the innovation?
Supposedly MS has this HUGE R&#38;D department creating innovations! Will someone please tell me what they ever invented? I am curious. The only thing I see that MS has innovated is licensing old technology that others besides MS invented. Yes, they have innovated the new IP licensing regime. Where's the beef?
Posted by Johnny Mnemonic (374 comments )
Link Flag
Software is always the laggard
When it comes to the computing environment, software has ALWAYS lagged behind hardware.

It took years until Windows 3.X could use the 32-bit extensions and in the 386 chips when they first came out - and they only took advantage of the extra memory via kludging.

Real support for 32-bit on the OS level really didn't come about till IBM shipped OS/2, and Microsoft shipped Windows NT 3.5 - that was YEARS after Intel released the 386 chip - and by that time, the 846 was already the mainstream processor.

So, if you look at the delays between the availability of the x86 chip and the OS, MS is actually closing that gap (though not fast enough for AMD to enjoy and build on the 64-bit lead over Intel).

On a final note, I suspect that the delay also has as much to do with Intel's way-delayed entry into the 64-bit X86 market. It makes much more sense for MS to ship 64-bit Windows with BOTH Intel and AMD support, rather than having to release a kludgy interim patch for the Intel processors later.
Posted by Tex Murphy PI (165 comments )
Link Flag
MBU = MSR&D
MS R&#38;D (oxymoron)? A tiny division of MS called MBU (Macintosh
Business Unit) that creates software from MS to run on Mac OS X
is where ALL the MS "innovations" happen.
Once Apple has a new system in place (64 bit OSX Panther / IBM
G5 / Aqua / Airport / iTunes / iPod / etc.) MS must develop new
software for Mac to "catch up", yet funny thing, a lot of those
"features" become "MS innovations" in their NEXT OS?
(i.e."Longhorn 2006") As long as MS keeps Apple as a "friend"
DOJ / EU are happy &#38; MS R7D is on Apple's nickel in Cuppertino.
Citizen Gates, doesn't it get cold standing in other tech giants'
shadows?
Posted by (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.