User scepticism to plague Win2000 release

Microsoft will release Windows 2000 on February 17, but users remain unconvinced of the need to upgrade, according to a Computerworld spot survey.

Concerns about potential bugs in the rewritten source code of Windows 2000 and the system specifications required to run the operating system mean almost a third of the NT users who spoke to Computerworld still have no plans to migrate.

Of the 69 per cent who do intend upgrading, only one-fifth will do so during the first half of 2000.

User scepticism about Microsoft's ability to deliver on the promise of bug-free software will plague Microsoft's launch of the much-delayed operating system.

Not one user in the Computerworld survey was confident the initial release of Windows 2000 would be free of bugs.

"Microsoft never releases anything that isn't buggy," Bernard Knorr, IT manager at Australian Arrow, said. "We don't want to be guinea pigs."

Darren Prouse, IT coordinator at Australian Paper, said the monopoly that Microsoft has on the market is just too much.

"People are sick to death of the bugs which come with [their products]," Prouse said.

Ross Lennox, IT operations and development manager at Alstom Australia, said "Microsoft has a track record of problems with first releases.

"For an organisation with as many users as ours, it is simply not worth the risk."

Even the Australian Stock Exchange, a beta tester of Windows 2000, has reservations.

Paul Chapman, national manager of trading systems development, said: "We will upgrade after it has been in the marketplace for a while and after we have tested it.

"We have a beta version of the product now but would need to seriously commit testing resources when we decide to evaluate it for upgrade."

But according to Tony Wilkinson, Microsoft Windows 2000 product manager, the company has always been focused on making Windows 2000 the most reliable of Windows products.

"Although we have said we will release Windows 2000 to manufacturing by the end of the calendar year, it won't happen until it has passed stress tests and achieved at least the level of reliability of Windows NT 4 with the latest services packs," he said.

Hardware considerations, however, will also put a stranglehold on ACL Bearing Company's upgrade path, according to Andrew Mackenzie, LAN administrator.

He said: "Requirements for the workstation version will be a major issue for us. We won't be looking at upgrading until the first half of 2001."

Meanwhile, the repeated delays in Windows 2000 coming to market have affected Sony with its time-sensitive Y2K considerations, according to information systems manager, Garry Voutos.

However, most of the poll's participants were not fazed by the delay. A spokesperson for a prominent Australian bank was philosophical about the inconvenience caused.

"Anyone who plans deadlines based on Microsoft delivery promises has rocks in their head. Microsoft never delivers on time."

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