Gates calls for 64-bit software support

The shift to 64-bit computing on the desktop is nearly here, or so says Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

By the end of next year, virtually all of Advanced Micro Devices' processors will be 64-bit chips, and most Intel chips shipped at that time will be 64-bit capable, Gates said. "This is going to be a really wonderful transition," Gates promised during an hour-long talk at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here. Gates used a good part of a speech to hardware makers Tuesday to try to convince them that the time is now to start writing 64-bit drivers for their software.

The issue is very important to the software maker. Even if most PC users are still a couple years away from running 64-bit operating systems on their desktop, Microsoft needs hardware makers to start moving now, says independent technology analyst Peter Glaskowsky. Applications written to take advantage of 64-bit computing won't work in Windows unless the drivers are also 64-bit, Glaskowsky said, adding that a lack of drivers could well be a "gating factor" that keeps people from moving to 64 bit programs.

News source: C|Net News.com

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