Microsoft officials have revealed a long-term plan to develop server products exclusively for x86-compatible, extended 64-bit processors. In separate industry conference presentations, officials said the company is planning extended 64-bit versions of Exchange Server 12, Windows for Clusters and even future releases of Longhorn Server. Microsoft's strengthened position on the x64 server platform is a major validation for a processor technology that has been patiently waiting for software to catch up.
Microsoft's stance is great news for AMD, which originally pushed the extended 64-bit concept. Ironically, Intel's x64 sales will probably benefit more than AMD's, though Intel would be happier if the 64-bit wave had moved toward its struggling Itanium platform.
Surprisingly, other applications vendors have been slow to develop software that takes advantage of the x64 platform. This is odd because x64 hardware has enjoyed much popularity at both server- and desktop-levels over the past two years. But now that Microsoft is on board, we can hope that software developers will follow suit, and we'll finally see a surge in applications that can tap into the extended 64-bit architecture's massive potential.