Speaking at an IT expo in San Diego, Microsoft’s chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates didn’t definitively cite 2006 as the year when Longhorn will ship in final form, but said analysts’ conjectures that the new operating system will debut in two years are “probably valid speculation.”
However, Gates did commit to releasing a Longhorn alpha, or very basic version, this year. He didn’t mention a beta of Longhorn, which is the stage before the final, commercial release. The beta had been scheduled for this year.
Microsoft had announced last May that it planned to release Longhorn in 2005. But since then, its executives refused to commit to a definite release date for the successor to Windows XP.