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Microsoft To Launch 64-Bit Windows Server 2003 At WinHEC

A company official confirms the April unveiling of the long-expected 64-bit version of Microsoft's server software, with support for existing 32-bit applications and performance improvements.

Microsoft is readying the launch of its long-awaited Windows Server 2003 x64 editions next month at its annual conference for hardware developers.

Windows Server 2003 x64 server and Windows XP Professional x64 editions were released to manufacturing this week, Microsoft said. At an Intel 64-bit Xeon event in San Francisco on Tuesday, Andy Lees, corporate vice president of server and tools business at Microsoft, said the official introduction of the 64-bit extended editions would be at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (HEC) 2005 in Seattle in late April.

Unlike the existing 64-bit version designed for Intel's Itanium, the 64-bit versions coming out this spring will support both existing 32-bit and 64-bit applications and show considerable performance improvements in select applications such as databases. This will enable more customers to integrate existing 32-bit applications and experiment with 64-bit computing on the same platform.

"We're in the final stages of completing that offering," Lees said. "We're making sure we take all of the ISVs with us [and] we'll be announcing a raft of people making full 64-bit versions of their applications available. The fact that you're fully compatible with 32-bit [offers] massive improvements in price/performance."

Microsoft announced the release candidate of the Windows server x64 code in February. The company originally expected to ship the software in 2004.

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