Windows 98 to debut June 25

Microsoft is planning to send the Gold Master of Windows 98 to manufacturing in mid-May and launch its next-generation operating system on June 25, sources close to the company said today.

The software giant has told OEMs to circle that date on their calendars. OEMs will be able to show the operating system on their systems at the PC Expo show, which begins June 16 in New York, but they will call it a beta version, sources said.

Microsoft officials would not comment on the timing of Windows 98's release, except to say that it still is on track to ship by the end of June.

An upgrade to Windows 95, Windows 98's chief enhancement is the integration of Internet Explorer.

Meanwhile, a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal said the US Department of Justice (DOJ) probably will not try to block Microsoft from releasing a version of the Windows 98 operating system bundled with Internet Explorer.

Besides the DOJ investigation, Microsoft is being scrutinised by more than half of the US state attorneys general, the US Senate and the European Commission.

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