Analysts at GigaWorld IT Forum '98 have advised attendees to forgo Windows NT 5.0 and wait for a later release.
With 30 million lines of code, 85% of which is new, Windows NT 5.0 is likely to be buggy, according to Rob Enderle, director of desktop and mobile technology at Giga Information Group.
"It's too complex and too new," he says. "Even inside Microsoft there's a realisation that the product won't ramp to volume until NT 6.0 because of the fear of initial releases."
Enderle advised waiting until service pack 3, or NT 5.5, which could be out a year or so after NT 5.0.
Meanwhile, Enderle predicts that around the time NT 6.0 arrives, the market will see PC-type appliances that will be "closer to the VCR than a traditional PC." They will be able to run Windows CE or NT with applications stored on the server, and will rely on caching, compression and decompression for handling multimedia.
The cost to maintain the appliances will be similar to a TV or a VCR. "You'll still be buying from Microsoft, but it will be different stuff," he says.
The Windows NT Lite and Windows CE development teams are gearing up for this desktop evolution and will eventually try to outbid each other to become the operating system of choice for the new appliances, Enderle said.
Even Intel, using the ARM chip, is preparing for this new thin-client market, he added.
Meanwhile, David Gilmour, co-founder of Giga, predicted that in the next year:
-- New layers of IP will reduce the complexity of operation and cost over two-tier computing;
-- Component architecture will become mainstream, although Microsoft's COM (common object model) will not be a big seller in corporations; and
-- NT will replace Windows 98 as the desktop platform, but it will be delayed and suffer from quality problems.
Giga Information Group is on the Web at http://www.gigaweb.com/.