Magazine article Black Enterprise

Switching to Windows 95

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Switching to Windows 95

Article excerpt

The small business community greeted the announced August 24 release date of Windows 95, the long-awaited upgrade of Microsoft's flagship operating system, with equal amounts of fanfare and apathy.

Businesses have been deciding whether to convert to the superior networking capabilities of Windows 95 immediately, or wait a few months to gauge the market's reaction to the highly touted software. It's a dilemma that has several unsettling dimensions.

After more than 18 months of delays, Microsoft reluctantly announced that some computer manufacturers wouldn't receive final versions of Windows 95 in time to load onto their new machines before the August release date. In July, Compaq Corp. announced that it would wait as late as October or November before it begins loading Windows 95 on its new Pentium computers.

Furthermore, software manufacturers are still deciding whether or not they are going to create products that will run on Windows 95. Microsoft sent 120,000 software development kits to manufacturers to help them build software compatible with Windows 95. Although the industry giant has spent a great deal of time and money to make Windows 95 "backward-compatible" with older programs that ran on previous versions of Windows, it has had limited success.

The lack of backward compatibility affects practically everyone. Dataquest, a market research firm in San Jose, Calif., reports that some form of Windows is running on 88% of home PCs and 78% of business PCs. Applications such as Symantec Corp.'s Norton Desktop will not be compatible with Windows 95. Businesses that use these applications will be forced to buy the Windows 95 version.

"This is the big fear," says Lora Schiner, Microsoft's product manager for Windows 95. "Consumers and businesses are afraid that everything they had ever created in Windows is not going to be compatible with the new system. …

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