Seattle, WA--If you thought the Windows NT operating system was popular before, wait until you hear what Microsoft and Intel have planned for Workstations (see Featured Product, pg. 120). Last month, at a Workstation Leadership Forum sponsored by the two companies, Bill Gates, the well-known Microsoft Chairman and CEO, along with Craig Barrett, president and COO of Intel, announced plans to help developers and customers easily adopt the Intel and Windows NT-based platform.
The Migration Assistance Program (MAP), designed to simplify the move from RISC/UNIX to Windows NT, may help independent software vendors (ISVs) quickly develop or port applications for both IA-32 and IA-64 processors. Ten Application Solution Centers (ASC), sponsored by Intel, will be added throughout the U.S. to the seven existing centers. Here, engineers help software developers write application specific programs.
According to Barrett, workstation developers who visit Intel's centers increased performance of their software by an average of 40%. Program support is limited to qualifying vendors developing applications and tools for the mechanical CAD, digital content creation, electronic design automation, and financial modeling segments.
Application availability and performance were the two issues that held back the adoption of the NT operating system, noted Gates. Now that both these are solved, "evangelizing software development is the key to advancing Windows NT," he said.
Companies such as Autodesk, Bentley, Mentor Graphics, Infinity, Motiva, SDRC, and SolidWorks have already ported their software to NT.
Also at the meeting, representatives from Compaq, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, NEC Systems, and Seimens Nixdorf presented their latest additions to the workstation market and discussed the benefits of the Intel-Windows NT combination.
Workstations with this combination outsold those with the UNIX operating system for the first time in 1997, according to a report from International Data Corp. Andrew Allison, an industry consultant and editor and publisher of the newsletter Inside the New Computer Industry, said, "The shift from RISC/UNIX to the Intel Architecture and Windows NT environment, which began in 1996, gathered momentum last year. The joint effort by Intel, Microsoft, and their leading workstation OEMs to encourage ISVs to develop on the Intel Architecture and Windows NT platform will accelerate this trend. I anticipate significant declines in RISC workstation volume this year as the Intel Architecture and Windows NT applications portfolio and performance of that platform both increase dramatically."