Research Brief


Microsoft Taps Intel and Digital for 64-bit Windows NT Enhancements


Intel Corporation has announced a development agreement with Microsoft for the 64-bit version of Windows NT. The goal is to create a common 64-bit software environment for Intelís next generation processor architecture, Merced. Microsoft also has agreements with Digital Equipment Corporation to improve the scalability of Windows NT including the use of Clusters for Windows NT software in the next version of Windows NT Version 5 due in 1997, as well as the development of 64-bit extensions to UNIX and OpenVMS systems.


Workgroup Strategic Servicesí Analysis

Microsoftís arrangement with Intel and Digital creates a "win/win" situation for all parties. However, Microsoft will clearly reap more benefits than Intel and Digital as it goes to market with future versions of Windows NT. Intel for its part will ensure that the upcoming Merced processor is fully integrated and optimized for Windows NT. This adds further strength to the Intel Pentium, Pentium Pro and upcoming Merced hardware platform.

Digital has over fifteen hundred Microsoft staff employed in 450 service locations in more than 100 countries. Digital is Microsoftís largest support partner and benefits from its close relationship by extensively training its technical support group and optimizing systems and applications for Windows NT. The important element of this relationship is the fact that Microsoft controls the destiny of Windows NT. Microsoft has its own specific agenda for Windows NT, Digital must be cognoscente of the fact that its goals for Windows NT donít necessarily match Microsoftís.


Announcement Highlights

According to Intel, the evolution of a common 64-bit operating environment for Windows NT users will offer seamless support of the current crop of 32-bit applications written for existing Pentium and Pentium Pro systems and future software optimized for the 64-bit Merced chipset.

Intel and Microsoft will coordinate the schedules for release of the 64-bit Windows NT operating system with the availability of the Merced processor. Both companies have pledged to work together to support the Independent Software Vendors and resellers to create innovative solutions for the 64-bit environment. Microsoft will release a preliminary copy of Windows NT with the Very Large Memory 64-bit Interface specification at its next Professional Developers Conference.

Digitalís Alliance for Enterprise Computing with Microsoft focuses on four areas of collaboration:

  1. Technology - including the cross licensing of patent portfolios, Microsoft licensing of Digitalís cluster technology, and enhancements to 64-bit Windows NT.
  2. Products - E-mail integration of Digitalís messaging system and Microsoftís Exchange, OpenVMS and Windows NT integration, and NT and BackOffice optimization.
  3. Service, Support and Systems Integration - includes certification of Digital field personnel, Windows NT migration assistance, and focused systems integration practices.
  4. Sales and Marketing - includes joint sales and marketing programs, use of Enterprise Solution Center for Windows, and joint sponsorship and production of field seminars highlighting Exchange and Internet solutions.

Digital and Microsoft will continue to work together for NT integration services and both will target Digitalís Gold Accounts (Digitalís top 200 accounts that contribute over $1 billion to its revenues). Microsoft will also help Digital support its channel partners in creating specific solutions for Windows NT users based on Digitalís new Go-to-Market customer and industry segmentation.