Although server customers will have to wait a little longer for a 64-bit version of Windows, there is some good news. Microsoft said that users that buy a 64-bit Opteron or Xeon server, and pay for a license to Windows Server 2003, will be able to exchange that license for one that covers the 64-bit edition when it ships next year.
The software maker said the "technology exchange program" will allow customers to feel secure in buying x64 servers today, pointing out that such servers can offer a 10 percent to 30 percent performance enhancement running existing 32-bit software.
"We see (that) the x64 architecture is, over time, going to become the dominant platform for the server market," said Dennis Oldroyd, a director in Microsoft's Windows Server unit. Oldroyd said the technology-exchange program announced Friday was only for the server OS.
Oldroyd also said Microsoft plans to make an updated beta version of the software available Monday. The latest test version, part of its , supports both AMD's Opteron as well as Intel's 64-bit Xeon architecture. Earlier test versions supported only AMD chips.
Oldroyd said he doesn't think Microsoft is holding up adoption of 64-bit technology.
"Given where customers are in the evaluation phase, we don't think we're holding back that adoption," he said.