The complex flavours of Microsoft operating systems means that many applications will not work well into the next century, it has emerged.
A white paper from the company has shown that both application software and operating systems suffer from the limitations of MS-Dos. When IBM and Microsoft fell out several years ago over the Dos operating system, both companies took their own directions.
The company admits it does have a problem. The paper says: "Even with Microsoft products it is possible for applications to perform incorrectly if developers have not used built-in data formats and functions." It advises its customers to take steps to ensure their applications handle the transitions to the next century.
Different versions of Access, Excel and Microsoft Project are affected by bad programming practice on the PC platform. It also affects any flavour of Dos that used the boot system before Fat 16. That came with Dos 5.0, and marked the period when IBM and Microsoft separated on development methods.
The news has big implications for developers who used Dos rather than Microsoft-developed projects to build their corporate applications. What is more puzzling is that the table the company supplies lists different versions of the same application programs, which use different date methods.
There are three versions of Microsoft Access quoted. Two are branded Access 95 but one has a data limit of 1999, while the other uses long dates so holds good until 9999. Excel 95 also appears to have two versions. The date limit for one is 2019 while the other is 2078. Microsoft Project 95 will hold good until 2049.
Corporations running Windows for Workgroups or versions of Windows 3.x which use the Dos Fat 16 file system (or above) seem to be safe.
An IBM representative said that versions of IBM Dos 6.0 and above are free from the problem. The company had set up a special task force to address the end of the century.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago