Hi – Patrick in product marketing. When I first wrote here weeks ago, I never would have guessed that the forecast for the NHL would be worse than the forecast for Itanium. Talk about hitting you where it hurts. The NHL is sinking like a ship in icy waters. Hockey-talk god Howard Berger hit the nail on the head in his recent interview with Ecklund, in particular the last question. Berger summed it up: “Hockey is, has been, and always will be a regional sport, and all the rule tinkering in the world won’t change that.”

That serves as an interesting segue to 64-bit computing with Itanium. This week Microsoft and Intel ran a ‘top story’ discussing 64-bit computing and Windows support for Itanium, which in turn was covered by CNET and Internetnews amongst others. Both articles focused on Longhorn server support for Itanium and added commentary how Windows on Itanium is a “big iron” play for Microsoft.

I’ll note that these articles hit a week after Fujitsu launched its mainframe-replacement Primequest server based on Itanium 2, and HP announced they’re doubles down on their Superdome bet for upcoming versions (Montecito) of Itanium 2.  I guess the latter’s bet makes sense since HP servers represent 70%+ of the Itanium-based servers in the market. In a meeting today, an IDC analyst said SGI has about 15% of the Itanium-based server market, and all other vendors are single digit. Sales of Itanium servers totaled $1.4 billion in 2004, according to research firm IDC. For its part, Fujitsu said it expects to sell about 10,000 of the Primequest servers worldwide over the next three years, representing about $2 billion in revenue.

Enough of the numbers. Route64 is still motoring along, so try to catch the show in your area. And of course, WinHEC will have plenty of sessions on 64-bit computing, including these virtual sessions.

Last, as they say, a picture is worth a thousands words. And Volker’s blog captures the mood around the Redmond campus as the launch of Windows x64 editions nears.