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November 24, 1998

MICROSOFT GIVES DETAILS OF YEAR 2000 STRATEGY

By CBR Staff Writer

Next month, Microsoft Corp will boost its Year 2000 program by announcing a series of specialist seminars, workshops and a new subscription-based information service, officials at the company said yesterday (CI No 3,545). Speaking to ComputerWire, Don Jones, Microsoft’s product manager, Year 2000, said the software giant plans to offer specialist millennium seminars consisting of four- and eight-hour workshops. The workshops, which will be run at Microsoft facilities around the world starting in January 1999, are designed to assist customers with their Microsoft Year 2000 projects as well as give guidance for a company’s overall millennium program, Jones said. At the same time, Redmond will introduce what Jones referred to as a new, subscription-based thing. In the past, he said Microsoft has made information available to its customers on its web site. But users have had to search for the information themselves, be it about Microsoft or third party products. By contrast, the new service will use push technology to send users updates only for specific, pre-requested companies’ Y2K fixes and updates. It’s what our customers have been asking for, Jones said, the amount of information on Year 2000 is growing rapidly and users need to keep themselves abreast. For that to happen the information needs to be constantly refreshed. Jones said that Microsoft did not intend to charge for the service, adding that it has never been the company’s intention to make its Year 2000 efforts revenue generating. Jones denied recent press reports that Redmond was planning to launch a new set of tools to fix Y2K glitches across the six main troublespots: hardware, operating systems, applications, documents, custom code and interfaces. Instead, he said Microsoft was committed to ongoing assessment in tools. He added: We are looking at tools across those six layers and determining what customers need but there are no plans to release immediate solutions next month. He said it was likely that Microsoft would move to offering complete, customized millennium solutions to suit an individual organization’s needs. The customized packages would contain Y2K fixes and solutions, be it Microsoft or third party software, covering whatever aspects of the six layers companies needed. We don’t intend to compete with our partners, we’re just doing what our customers are asking us to do, he said. Last week, Microsoft launched its first toll free millennium hotline number. To access the service, dial 1888- MSFT-Y2K.

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