Major PC makers seem to have just cottoned on to the fact that the millennium is only eight months away and have reacted by rushing out a Y2K hardware compliance specification.
The members of the so called PC Y2K Alliance, which includes Acer, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Toshiba, launched an Internet site today. It features an information resource to, "help PC users understand and address Year 2000 issues".
The Web site includes criteria for valid Year 2000 tests and direct links to the Y2K web sites of member companies.
Critics believe it is too late, especially given the amount of media interest the Y2K problem has generated. The Alliance, however, believes the site will provide a place where confused consumers and small businesses can find easy to understand information.
The Alliance acknowledges that it is late to the table, but believes that Y2K fixes for smaller businesses are not as extensive, having less legacy software to deal with.
Most hardware companies, including Compaq and Dell, use the NSTL's (National Software Testing Lab) YMark2000 test as the benchmark for claiming Y2K compliance. However, the PC Y2K Alliance does not endorse YMark2000 and has instead defined its own set of Y2K compliance standards.
The Alliance expects to expand its membership, for which there are two categories: PC hardware/ firmware developers and manufacturers; and software companies and associated industries that endorse the Y2K compliance specification.
Microsoft has already said it will launch a Y2K site for consumers in June that will provide information and compliance updates for the software giant's products. It has been forced to issue a large number of Y2K patches for its products.
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