Microsoft is expected to backtrack on a technology decision that could have forced many organisations to upgrade to Windows 2000 unnecessarily.
The software giant had said it would remove some LAN functionality in the planned Millennium Edition (ME) of its Windows 9x operating system (OS) to reduce its appeal to businesses.
But after protests from customers and analysts, Microsoft changed its mind, according to researcher GartnerGroup at its Spring Symposium in Italy.
Microsoft had previously confirmed that Windows ME would not attach to a networked Novell or Banyan Systems file server without an organisation acquiring and installing extra Novell or Banyan software, Gartner said.
In addition, although Microsoft has committed itself to providing an Active Directory client for users of Windows 95 and 98, Gartner said that the company had no plans to support an Active Directory client for Windows ME.
The researcher said the software giant was attempting to position its latest OS, Windows 2000, as the only viable alternative desktop OS for business users. Gartner urged customers at the event to put Microsoft under pressure to remove the restrictions, and itself campaigned for the networking protocols to be restored. It now seems Microsoft has succumbed to pressure and will restore functionality.
In a report, Neil MacDonald, an analyst at Gartner, said many of the same inhibitors to a Windows NT migration remain with Windows 2000, including the cost of licensing and application and hardware compatibility.
However, not all companies are prepared to make this migration. Michael Gartenberg, analyst at Gartner, said: "Organisations need to step off the IT treadmill. They don't need to move at the current rate of technological change. But vendors want them to because they are after profit."
ANTITRUST VERDICT "WILL NOT AFFECT USERS"
The US government's victory in its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft will have no discernible impact on users, according to GartnerGroup.
Tom Bittman, analyst at Gartner, said the ruling and punishment would not affect the company's software pricing or its licensing agreements.
Microsoft lost its titanic battle with the US Department of Justice and 19 states after the court ruled that it had abused its monopoly in the software market. It is now waiting to hear its fate.
One possible punishment is that the court would break up Microsoft. "But this would not be a problem for users as it would just mean dealing with several companies instead of one," said Bittman."In fact, the entire issue that the case centred on is becoming a non-issue. The next battle is for Internet service providers, not desktops. If the appeal goes on for another two years, then it will be too late to make any difference."
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