Microsoft has been caught out by its famously casual attitude to the millennium bug, with an admission that it has underestimated the amount of software testing to be done.
Users have forced the industry giant to begin hurried testing of legacy products it had not previously intended to certify as Y2K compliant. These include Microsoft Mail, which the company says is still being used by "hundreds of thousands" of UK users.
This month, the company will publish its plans for extra testing, which it promises will be completed to "aggressive timelines". With fewer than 400 working days to go before the date change, Microsoft's Year 2000 strategy manager Jason Matusow said: "We recognise the critical nature of the problem, and of the time constraint."
Test schedule dates will not be available until the end of the month.
Microsoft's action was prompted by customer feedback, Matusow said. In the case of Mail, the company had overestimated users' enthusiasm to upgrade to products such as Microsoft Exchange.
Jim Moffatt, marketing manager at rival Lotus UK, said the issue would be serious for Mail users. "In major organisations, email is often the critical application. There will be a lot of people anxious to see the results of the tests," he said.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said last week that the company still had no intention of testing versions of Word 5 and lower - even though it concedes there is still a lot of the software out there.
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