Windows 98 slipped three months closer to 1999 yesterday when Microsoft delayed the release of the operating system upgrade under pressure from worried customers and channel partners.
The need to provide a simultaneous upgrade path for users of both Windows 3.x and Windows 95 is at the bottom of the decision to knock back the planned first quarter 1998 release into the second quarter (see Newswire, 8 August). It was originally planned to release a Windows 95 upgrade in the first quarter, followed by a 3.x upgrade in the summer or possibly even the autumn.
But this plan proved to be unacceptable to customers and channel partners, forcing the company to delay the release until all versions can be shipped at the same time. Phil Holden, Microsoft?s Windows product manager, confirmed: "Feedback from our channel and from our corporate customers indicated that they wanted only one release with migration support for both operating systems in it. There will now be one upgrade for all Windows users and that will take additional time. The result is that we will have to do additional testing and that will move us to the second quarter."
Windows 98 is currently in second beta release with 15,000 test users. The immediate effect of the delay announcement will be the postponement of the third beta, which was due at the end of the third quarter. Wall Street did not respond well to the announcement, with $7 knocked off the Microsoft share price, which closed at $130.7 yesterday.
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