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Microsoft announced on Tuesday that the company’s server software, which is currently licensed by the number of processors in the server, will continue to be licensed in that model for server hardware that contains dual-core and multi-core processors, and will not be licensed according to the number of processing engines within the central processing unit.

“Microsoft’s licensing strategy will help facilitate the broad adoption of multi-core server technology,” said Brent Callinicos, corporate vice president of Worldwide Licensing and Pricing at Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft’s move is applauded by AMD, who has already showcased working dual-core x86-64 processors and is expects to release them in mid-2005. Additionally, the Sunnyvale, California-based chipmaker will offer its customers dual-core chips for desktops by the end of 2005.

Multi-core processors are a logical evolution in performance improvements for multi-tasking environments, and dual-core AMD64 processors with Direct Connect Architecture are expected to more efficiently support those multi-tasking demands. Dual-core AMD Opteron processors are expected to be socket compatible with the 90nm single-core AMD Opteron packaging.

The licensing policy from Microsoft will allow the enterprise not to spend additional funds on software for systems running dual-core chips or reinstall operating systems. However, one of the main advantages of AMD Opteron processor – 64-bit capability amid full 32-bit compatibility – is not currently used in Windows environments, as Microsoft plans to roll-out its operating systems for x86-64 chips sometime in early 2005.

“I haven’t spoken with a single IT manager who wants to swap out their current servers just to upgrade to multi-core technology. With AMD Opteron™ processor-based hardware, the upgradeability to upcoming dual-core AMD Opteron processors, and Microsoft’s software licensing plans, the IT community will be able to reap the rewards of multi-core technology without the pain of upheaval,” said Marty Seyer, corporate vice president and general manager for AMD’s Microprocessor Business Unit, Computation Products Group.

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