Microsoft was able to launch the new operating system on June 25, as it had wanted. Because of this, the U.S. economy (or was it global?) did not collapse. None of us was reduced to wearing sandwich boards or wagging tin cups. In addition, the software giant did not have to dive into its $10 billion cash hoard to fund speech-recognition research and such for integration into the next generation of its operating system.
And as a bonus, we can all reap the benefits of Windows 98. Sure, there are all these reports of bugs and upgrade headaches. But really, what's the big deal? You're not going to let the little pain of changing your BIOS get you down, right?
You should, instead, rejoice in the manna from Windows 98. Just think of the ease with which you will be able to add peripherals to your PC, thanks to the new universal serial bus technology. (The fact that I'm unable to hook up a joystick is my fault because the device is not USB-compliant.) You've always wanted to watch TV on your computer, haven't you? Well, Win 98 makes it a no-brainer to add a TV tuner to your PC. (You probably are out of luck if you are still using a 486 clunker.) And then there's the DVD support. What? You haven't jumped on that train yet?
The biggest benefit for all of us upgrading to Windows 98 is this: Microsoft has fixed 3,000 Windows 95 flaws with this new release. That's right, we now can reap the rewards of a spanking new operating system that fixes all those pesky bugs we had to live with for the past three years. Now, if this isn't reason enough to spend $89, you don't deserve to be using a PC.
Besides, with the world going digital and convergence the next holy grail, what choice do you have? After all, PCs, TVs, and the Internet are all going to become one. The AT&T-TCI merger is supposedly going to bring many things to the home, and the conduit for these is a contested device known as the set-top box.
Guess who's got the inside edge on powering up that smart box? Microsoft's Windows CE, of course--a close relative of your favorite operating system. If you think your TCI service is unreliable, wait till your Windows CE set-top goes haywire during the World Cup penalty kick-off between France and Brazil.
But wait, Windows CE also is the operating system for the Auto PC, a gizmo that can be hooked to you car's dashboard and will talk to you, provide you directions, let you play your CDs, and allow you to check your email, among others things while you're dodging rush-hour traffic. Too bad if a bug in the system made you take the wrong turn and you ended up going the wrong direction on a one-way street.
The PC industry--and Microsoft--have done a terrific job of training us to live with shoddy and buggy products, something we do not tolerate in our cars, TVs, or phones. Wouldn't it be ironic if that's what we have to put up with in the converged world of Windows CE and its ilk?
NEWS.COM editor Jai Singh swears he does not take his eyes off the road to check his email.
As editor in chief of CNET News.com, Jai Singh is responsible for overseeing all the news efforts of CNET Networks.
Before joining CNET in January 1996, Singh headed the news operation at InfoWorld, one of the leading technology newsweeklies. He also spent nearly four years with PC Week--first as the software editor and later as assistant news editor.
During the mid-1980s, Singh spearheaded a 20-hour-a-day news operation for one of the pioneering online services, The Source, later acquired by CompuServe.
Singh holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from American University.