With Windows 98 not expected to see the light of day until mid-1998, Microsoft plans to appease its OEM partners in the meantime with a new version of Windows 95, called OSR 2.5.
The release, due in late 1997 or early 1998, will build on the latest version of Windows 95, OSR 2.1.
It will include Internet Explorer 4.0, which shipped Sept. 30, and serves as a Web interface for
Windows 95, as well as updated clients from The Microsoft Network, America Online, AT&T,
OEMs, who need about three months to test, install, and deliver the operating system, have asked
Microsoft for the interim version of Windows 95, product manager Phil Holden said.
Despite Explorer 4.0's free-of-charge download availability over the Internet, customers and OEMs
would prefer to receive it in a pre-packaged OS, he said. Also, Microsoft will give OEMs a kit to
pre-install Explorer 4.0.
"The OEMs like this because it makes it easier for them to provide their customers with
[Explorer 4.0]," Holden said. "We are working with them to provide the installation tools so that
they can pre-install it for their customers. For our customers, it enables them to experience the
benefits of [Explorer 4.0] without having to install it for themselves."
In 1996 Microsoft first updated Windows 95 with OSR 2.0, which boosted FAT32 file system
support, NetMeeting, and other features. OSR 2.1 was a release to OEMs only that added
Universal Serial Bus support.