NT '96 shows Microsoft's muscle

A packed first-day crowd at the Windows NT '96 show in London today testified to the growing importance of the operating system. An overall attendance of 15-20,000 is expected for the event which runs through until Friday and hosts stands from over 80 companies including AST, Compaq, Computer Associates, Digital, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Novell, Oracle, US Robotics and, of course, Microsoft itself.

A packed first-day crowd at the Windows NT '96 show in London today testified to the growing importance of the operating system. An overall attendance of 15-20,000 is expected for the event which runs through until Friday and hosts stands from over 80 companies including AST, Compaq, Computer Associates, Digital, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Novell, Oracle, US Robotics and, of course, Microsoft itself.

There are about 2,500 applications currently shipping for NT and that figure is expected to double in the next 12 months, according to Mark Hassall, NT Server product manager at Microsoft. There are now over one million NT servers and 150,000 copies of NT Server 4.0 have shipped in the last 30 days. In the UK, NT sales were higher than those of Novell NetWare for both the first and second quarters of the year.

"Existing NetWare customers are putting in Windows NT as an application server and ensuring they've got interoperability [but] at the end of the day people run their businesses on applications not file and print [services]," Hassall said.

"We've doubled our sales year on year and the challenge now is to extend NT into very large corporates and the small business sector. We need to do more at the extreme ends of the market. At the high-end we need to address issues of scalability and enterprise management. We're on MIPS, Alpha and PowerPC but it's fair to say that Intel is by far the lion's share of our business. Clustering is a very significant announcement for us: we've got firms like Digital, Tandem, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq and Intel alongside us and the development of a common API is very important."

Hassall also hit back at suggestions that its well-publicised problems with the National Westminster Bank had led the firm into the arms of Novell. "It's absolute rubbish. The Nat West is NT through and through," he said.

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