Microsoft is adamant that Windows Millennium Edition (ME) is a consumer not a business product, despite conceding to user pressure to include networking functionality within the operating system.
The software giant had planned not to include Lan functionality in Windows ME to reduce its appeal to corporate users, even though such functions are included in Windows 95 and 98.
Microsoft wanted consumers to move to Windows ME and businesses to Windows 2000. But after pressure from corporate users and analysts, the company restored the protocols that allowed ME to attach to a networked Novell or Banyan Systems file server. Without these, ME users would have had to acquire and install the additional software themselves.
David Weeks, Windows product marketing manager at Microsoft UK, said: "The original plan was to make ME very much a consumer-centric product. Why a business would want to upgrade to this, I don't know."
"By removing some of the networking functionality, we increased reliability. But when we sent the product out to beta testers they said 'can we have them back', so we put the network client back."
At its Spring Symposium in Florence, Italy, earlier this week, industry analyst Gartner accused Microsoft of attempting to position its latest operating system, Windows 2000, as the only viable alternative desktop operating system for business users.
Gartner analysts campaigned for Microsoft to put the Lan functionality back into ME and urged users to do the same. In a recent report, Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald said that many of the same inhibitors to a Windows NT migration remain with Windows 2000, such as the cost of migration and licensing, and application and hardware compatibility.
"Windows 2000 is a better desktop operating system for those that can migrate," he said.
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