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November 1, 1995

MICROSOFT EUROPE ADMITS WINDOWS95 STOCKS ARE HIGH; PLANS IP NETWORK FOR MICROSOFT NETWORK+INTERNET

By CBR Staff Writer

At last month’s Eurochannels ’95 conference in Paris, Microsoft Europe president Bernard Vergnes admitted that levels of Windows95 stock in both the dealer and distributor channel were twice the norm. He would not divulge the actual number of units sold, due to Microsoft Corp’s then imminent results announcement, but said Although we’ve sold a lot, we still have a lot in stock. But for the benefit of those secretly desiring to see Microsoft fall flat on its face with Windows95 – fat chance – he cautioned that the situation Is far from being dramatic, especially with Christmas coming, and the sell-through rate is healthy. Not surprisingly, he said that Windows95 purchasers are predominantly individual end-users and some small organisations. Large corporations are not yet buying in significant volumes, although he said that more than 80% of the company’s top 1,000 customers worldwide are testing it. Very few of our large customers have clearly indicated that they are not interested. Some are talking about upgrading 10,000 to 15,000 machines by the end of 1995, he said. In Europe, the UK, Germany and Nordic countries have been the fastest adopters. After six weeks, he said Windows95 has proved to be a solid product with no show stopper bugs. It’s a release 2.0-quality product, he said. Consequently, buyers should not expect a maintenance release soon; there will be software drivers released on the Internet, but no maintenance release. Product support wait times and call volumes have reached reasonable levels, he said, adding that in Europe, Microsoft had less demand for support than expected. In any case, he said, There is no wrong choice between Windows95 and Windows NT. They are compatible, even if Windows95 was built with more backward compatibility than NT, and NT has a higher hardware barrier. If you’re in doubt, buy Windows95. Demonstrating a perceptible shift in the company’s Microsoft Network policy, Vergnes said the network will be part of the Internet. In Europe the issue of Microsoft Network is complex. We have changed our strategy. We were going to have X.25 access throughout Europe, but it was not right for the Internet, so we are structuring an IP network that will be available in early January, he said. Microsoft Network Europe won’t have the same capabilities right away as the US, he said, since most services are US-oriented.

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