Bill Gates must be desperate: last week, he rallied together a bunch of yes-men to come out against the legal threat to delay Windows 98.
The Microsoft CEO wheeled out Eckhard Pfeiffer, CEO of Compaq, Jim Halpin of CompUSA and a couple of techies from 3Com and Dell and got them to shout that the entire computer industry and the US economy will grind to a halt unless he has his way.
Gates thinks this will frighten the attorney generals into withdrawing their application for an injunction against the shipping of Windows 98 (see PC Week 5 May). Thirteen states have filed for an injunction preventing shipment, and are waiting for judges' decisions on whether the injunctions will be granted. Decisions are expected within three weeks.
But the district attorneys are of a different opinion and Compaq has whispered that it is not expecting much of a take up for Windows 98, so it doesn't really care.
"It's hardly surprising when a powerful firm with a monopoly market position claims the economic sky will fall if it is not left alone by regulators.
That's the last refuge of corporate self-preservation," scoffed Massachusetts attorney general Scott Harshbarger.
Dennis Vacco, New York attorney general, added: "Self-serving spin will not deter antitrust enforcers from protecting consumers who want more economic choices in a competitive marketplace."
Most vendors also don't see much of a problem with delay. "I don't know what all the fuss is about, I could barely tell the difference between Windows 95 and Windows 98," said one vendor.
Dixons expects to take an extra 2,000 technical help calls a day following the release of Windows 98. "We certainly don't expect plain sailing following the release of Windows 98, especially if Windows 95 is anything to go by," said Keith Martin-Smith, head of Dixons Master Care.
Does this imply there could be technical "glitches" with the new product?
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