15 November 2005 Microsoft has confirmed that its entire range of server software will be written to only run on 64-bit processors after 2007.
Speaking at the Microsoft IT Forum in Barcelona, Bob Muglia , senior vice president for the server and tools unit at the software giant, told delegates that the company would continue to support 32-bit based versions of its Windows Server system at least until 2012, but all new releases after 2007 will be designed for use on 64-bit processors alone.
The controversial decision will impose a deadline for most organisations to move away from 32-bit architectures, as few businesses will want to continue running systems without support.
To date, adoption of 64-bit processors – which can provide more computational power than current 32-bit architectures – has been slow. In part, this is because few applications have been written to run on 64-bit chips.
Microsoft’s announcement will be a major fillip for proponents of 64-bit computing.
But the first release of the next generation of Microsoft’s server software, which still bears the working title of “Longhorn,” due in 2007, will support 32-bit systems.
Meanwhile, Muglia also revealed that the company plans to release a range of its server software aimed specifically at mid-size companies, codenamed “Centro”.
Elsewhere at its user conference, Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s newly restructured Business Division outlined the company’s vision of the new “digital workstyle,” in which information is not only readily available but shareable and searchable, and structured and unstructured data are integrated to support knowledge workers in their decision making.