Windows 95 it ain't. Three years ago home PC users waited with bated breath for the release of Win95 but Windows 98 will not induce the same frenzy. Last week, Computerworld asked PC manufacturers: What will be the impact on your company and the industry in general if Microsoft can't ship Windows 98 on time? Would there be any advantage in supplying Netscape as an alternative to IE4.0?
Mike Carden, home PC marketing manager for Hewlett-Packard:
The impact for us will probably not be that great because the market is not really hanging out for it. If it slips enough to cut into the Christmas market it will become a problem but for now we're not seeing the enthusiasm for Windows 98 that we saw for Win95.
We haven't worked out whether we will be providing both IE4.0 and Netscape Navigator. I feel we probably will provide some choice but Windows 98 does preclude doing that easily.
There are advantages to the whole industry in having a competitive environment, but I feel that this would be a fairly insignificant way of doing it. It is really a matter of what the customers want. First-time buyers, who are a large part of our market, probably don't have any preference. Realistically the functionality of both is very similar.
George Hladilo, PC products business marketing manager for Compaq:
Most of our units traditionally sold into the corporate market, so for us there will be minimal impact because Windows 98 is aimed at the consumer community. More important to us is NT 5.0.
Impact to the industry overall will probably be minimal also. We haven't seen a large number of buying decisions hingeing on Windows 98. If it's delayed by a month [that's okay], as long as consumers understand that it is coming and they can factor that into their buying decisions. It's not so much about making a deadline as managing a change.
We load IE4.0 with all our PCs. If customers want Netscape they can just download it from the Web. Both do pretty much the same job and it doesn't really matter to the consumer one way or the other. They use whatever is put in front of them. It would be more of an issue for corporates because they tend to standardise on one.
Ross Allen, general manager of Dell Computers:
I don't believe [a delay in delivery of Windows 98] would have a major impact here. There may be some deferral in hardware procurement. We have a strong partnership with Microsoft. It's up Microsoft to row its own boat on this.
Jeremy Burgess, product manager for PCs and notebooks for Digital:
I don't believe Windows 98 delivery will have a big impact on Digital because we haven't had a strong demand from customers for it. We are in the corporate market, and you'd assume that these customers would be slower on the uptake of Windows 98 because of the nature of upgrading across a lot of users.