Bill Gates 'will blow your mind' at Win2K launch

There will be no shortage of hyperbole at the Windows 2000 launch, but will the new OS really be 'the most important thing that has happened to businesses ever'?

Bill Gates will make six announcements, which will set "Windows 2000 head and shoulders above everyone else in the marketplace", at the official global launch of the new operating system tonight, according to Ann Mitchard, UK group marketing manager for the Windows platform.

Speaking at the UK launch of Windows 2000 at Earl's Court on Thursday morning, Mitchard said that at 17:00 GMT, Gates will reveal extraordinary improvements, particularly in the area of scalability of the operating system. Nick McGrant, Windows 2000 server product manager, promised that tonight's announcements "will blow your mind".

These bold promises highlight the importance Microsoft is placing on the success of Windows 2000. Mitchard admits that the future success of the company depends heavily on the achievement of the new operating system, adding: "The Internet is moving at an exponential rate. If we are not offering the best back-end, business-to-business, business-to-consumer solution, it will seriously affect Microsoft."

The meteoric rise of interest in Linux as a possible alternative to the Windows platform has also raised the stakes for Microsoft, although Mitchard believes today's launch will help rekindle interest in Windows.

Clearly, Mitchard also hopes that the excitement surrounding the launch of Windows 2000 will draw attention away from the forthcoming Department of Justice (DoJ) ruling on how to deal Microsoft's alleged monopolistic practices, as well as a new European Union investigation into its business methods. "The interesting thing is that I don't think anybody believes Microsoft will be split up," she says. "We wouldn't be talking about Linux if there wasn't competition."

The agenda of the companies already using Windows 2000 and showing off their hardware on stalls at today's launch event is clear, and there's no shortage of hyperbole. For example, Adrian Tatum, director of British IT management company Computacenter, opined that Windows 2000 will be "the most important thing that has happened to businesses ever."

The global launch ceremony of Windows 2000 by ex-Microsoft CEO Bill Gates can be watched live on the Internet at: http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/launch/keynote.asp.

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