Microsoft is playing wait-and-see with AMD's 64-bit Opteron processor. The company has no definite commitment to ship a version of its .Net Server operating system for the new processor, though both will be available at the same time, around April of 2003. The stance was laid out at Microsoft's IT Forum event in Copenhagen on Thursday by Microsoft's Windows supremo. "Our stance is that with .Net Server, it is up to the hardware manufacturers to deliver hardware, and we will support it," said Brian Valentine, senior vice president for Windows at Microsoft." Support for the 64-bit AMD processors will be an inherent feature in Longhorn, the next desktop version of Windows, due later in 2003, said Valentine. Beta versions of .Net Server already exist for the 64 bit Opteron, and were on show at AMD's stand at IT Forum, as well as at Supercomputing 2002 in Baltimore, but Valentine would not commit to a 64-bit version at the launch of the operating system. AMD was also showing a beta 64bit version of Windows XP running on a 64-bit Athlon desktop. For its part, AMD is confident of having systems available at the launch. "This is not a paper launch," said Dave Everitt, European strategic marketing manager of AMD. "We have systems out there." AMD outline the difference between its 64bit strategy and Intel's at IT Forum. "Not everyone at the show realises the difference between our approaches" said Everitt. (there are more details here in ZDNet's Tech Update) While Itanium changes the instruction set completely, AMD extends the existing 32 bit instruction set, explained Everitt. "Intel has redefined the world," he said. "They feel they can because of their market position." AMD's approach is more "evolutionary", he said, like Intel's own upgrade between the 16bit 286 and the 32bit 486 processors. Despite his unwillingness to commit, Valentine did emphasise that delivering for AMD's 64bit Opteron would be easy. "I'm ahead of the curve this time. With Intel's Itanium, I was behind." If Microsoft does ship a 64-bit version of .Net Server at launch, it would most likely be on a separate disk, said Everitt.