A LITTLE FRESH AIR ON WINDOWS 95
There must be some substantial improvements in Win95, but I wasn't able to discern them from your article ("Windows 95," Cover Story, July 10). Instead, your coverage focused on the expected benefits of Win95 for Microsoft and other technology companies. What about the typical consumer, who supposedly is anxious to run out and buy this thing? Launching programs, managing files, and double-clicking the mouse is really not too difficult with Windows 3.1. Most of the Win95 features you describe sound nice, but are they really worth hundreds of dollars of upgrades in software and hardware--especially considering the probability of bugs in early release?
The "Gee Whiz! Check out this new feature!" tone of your story was amusing. Every single feature the article describes has been available from Apple Computer for over a decade. I've been plugging-and-playing, double-clicking, uncluttering the desktop, and finding files in the blink of an eye for almost eight years now with the Macintosh System 7 operating system, and I see nothing even slightly revolutionary about Microsoft's new brainchild.
A photo caption caught my attention. It called making the switch to Windows 95 a "no brainer." If Microsoft has this attitude, I fear it might be in for a rude awakening. I, for one, will most likely not switch to 95. I have a 486-50 with 8 megabytes of memory and am unwilling to spend several hundred dollars to take advantage of 95.
What exactly are the advantages? We hear about plug-and-play, but I already have a modem, CD-ROM, etc. What will I add that I need plug-and-play for? We hear about ease of use, but neither I nor my 6-year-old has any trouble with Windows 3.11.
Microsoft has a large marketing job to do on me--and I am sure many others--before we will switch to Windows 95. From all I have read, I am certain that for me, a PhD student, the marginal costs of switching far exceed the marginal benefits.
University of Texas
When I saw the cover of your last issue, I expected just another article where Windows 95 would be portrayed as a revolutionary product with features never seen before. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by its objectivity. It showed that Windows 95's "innovations" have already appeared in products from Apple Computer and IBM and that it is not necessarily the best operating system available. Finally, a publication not brainwashed by Microsoft!
BUSINESS WEEK did a good job of balancing the noise, hopes, and grousing surrounding Win95's August rollout. But will large and small corporations immediately convert? After a lot of bugfixes and patches, Win3.1 is relatively solid. WinNT is very sound.
Companies aren't going to add roughly $750 to $1,000 to the cost of 386 and 486 systems that are good for at least one or more years of work (word processing, accounting, logistics, etc.). They probably won't buy new systems for everyone in the organization simply to add multitasking capabilities (most people can only do one thing well at a time anyway), or Internet access (Internet connection is already growing at 18% per month).
Will chief information officers and chief financial officers feel it imperative to convert to a new operating system and rewrite all of the software they rely on because Win95 is new?
Brand-new computer users will have no problem deciding between Win3.1 and Win95 because they have no prior investment to consider. However, people who upgrade their systems will have to evaluate hardware, software, and operational impact costs.
Marken Communications Inc.
Santa Clara, Calif.
Let's see if I've got this: In order to run Windows 95, all these folks who bought PC-compatibles because they cost less than Macintoshes are going to have to add a lot more RAM and bigger hard disks to run an operating system that still won't give them the ease of operation that a Mac does. Who was it that said there's a sucker born every minute?
My advice for people who want an easy-to-use, easy-to-network, plug-and-play computer is the same today as it was 10 years ago: Buy a Mac.