Brian Marr, Microsoft' Windows XP64 product manager, filed details of the move on a private Windows server 64 newsgroup.
Marr admits that the current beta build is "very old" but he said that Microsoft is trying to get an update out soon. He said: "I think you are going to be impressed by how much work our development team has put into the OS".
Marr said that a technical beta programme is currently suspended, but Microsoft will open it up again after XP SP2 ships.
The big question, however, is what happens when Windows XP64 ships, and Marr says the operating system will be available on "some" new OEM PCs. "The OEMs are responsible for deciding which systems they want to support it on," he wrote. "The OS will be part of MSDN" and Software Assurance, he continued.
Windows XP64 will be sold through system builders and distributors and people will be able to buy it pre-installed on a system builder PC "or just purchase the OS with some piece of hardware".
But, he said, that could be anything - even a cable.
There won't be a retail product, he said. Resistance to that, Marr writes, "really surprises me. SB (system builder)/Disti (distribution) is the easies and least expensive way to get your new OS, especially if you build your own PCs".
He said that Microsoft is working on a scheme to allow people to trade 32-bit XP Pro licences for Windows XP64. "We want to take care of the people who go out and buy or build X64 systems before we ship," he said.
He and his Microsoft colleagues, he claimed, "work on this project for a reason. We (you and I) are the people driving the transition into the next phase in computing. Our job isn't to squeeze money from your pockets or make this hard for you, we want to make it very easy". µ
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