Why is it that software companies announce release dates for their wares months, even years before the programs are ready? Could it be that we are all so desperate for their products that we simply have to have a date to look forward to and they are just satisfying our insatiable appetite for bigger, better software? Or could it be that those advertising execs have got us all sussed and know exactly what to do to make us live for that arrival day?
In the case of Windows 98, Microsoft has told the press it needs to provide a simultaneous upgrade path for Windows 3.x users who would have had to wait until next summer for a compatible upgrade after the release of the Windows 95 upgrade. That would have meant two Windows 98 launches: one for Windows 95 users and one for those who chose to ignore it, sticking with file manager and 16-bits.
It's a cunning ploy with all the clever marketing sense Microsoft is renowned for, namely winning headlines. Look at what you are reading.
An editorial completely devoted to discussing the arrival of an operating system that has been on its way since August 1995 and has been delayed a couple of months.
Computer magazines and newspapers have been riddled with articles about Memphis long before Chicago (Windows 95) was ever released, most of them concentrating on the merits of a true 32-bit environment and the (eventual) demise of DOS.
"Feedback from our channel," said Phil Holden, Microsoft's Windows product manager, "and from our corporate customers indicated they only wanted one release." The question that needs answering is why? Why would a company that is using Windows 3.x now move to an operating system that has yet to be tested? Wouldn't it make more sense for a company to adopt the tried and tested Windows 95 and wait until Windows 2000 before adopting Windows 98?
The channel would benefit too; instead of a single launch they would have two, both blessed by Microsoft's marketing might, both offering advantages over their predecessors. But the delay has been announced and while Microsoft's share prices took a marginal hit, wait until Memphis arrives. We'll all be so glad that it's here and we won't mind how late it's been ... will we?
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