Windows 2000 Beta 3 Goes On Sale
Further smudging the line between shipping product and test product, Microsoft Corp.'s Certified Solutions Providers (MCSPs) plan to charge users for a Beta 3 version of Windows 2000. An e-mail went out to users this week that offers the Windows 2000 Corporate Preview Program (CPP) through the MCSP plan. The CPP will cost $59.95 (£36) and include Windows 2000 Server Beta 3 and the client Windows 2000 Professional Beta 3.
Services and support documentation shipping with the CPP include a two-CD set of white papers and deployment guides. A step-by-step installation manual called the Windows 2000 Corporate Preview Guide will also come with the software, according to the e-mail. The CPP goes so far as offering technical support on a private newsgroup for the Beta 3 version of Microsoft's much delayed Windows 2000 Server. Those who pay the fee also are enrolled to receive a beta update subscription and e-mail notification of changes concerning the product at Microsoft's Web site.
MCSPs charging for Windows 2000 Beta 3 compounds system vendors' commitment to shipping and supporting Beta 3 on their hardware. Vendors including IBM, Unisys Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. plan to install the software on systems they sell starting at Comdex/Spring in Chicago next week.
According to sources, users who buy machines preloaded with the beta will receive coupons for a free upgrade once Windows 2000 ships. Microsoft hopes the final product will debut in October.
Purchasers of the CPP will receive it about six to eight weeks after Windows 2000 Beta 3 ships next week.
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