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Thursday, June 25, 1998 Published at 22:32 GMT 23:32 UK

Windows 98 - what the critics say

Will Bill Gates still be smiling after he reads the reviews?

Reviewers have given a mixed reaction to Windows 98, ranging from "a huge, overhyped, bloated embarrassment" to "absolutely essential" for some systems.

Jesse Berst, ZDNet

Windows 98, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

How about the fact it charges about $100 ($180 for the full version) to fix hundreds of Win95 bugs that should have been patched years ago?

Or how it finally includes the improved drivers Microsoft promised for 1995?

Or how it adds yet another interface metaphor on top of the six it has already, giving us the welcome opportunity to retrain 200 million users. ...

Windows 98 should have been released for free on January 1, 1996 and titled Windows 95.1.

If this were Hollywood, then Windows 98 would be the equivalent of "Heaven's Gate," "Waterworld" and "Godzilla" rolled into one. A huge, overhyped, bloated embarrassment.

Stephen Manes of The New York Times

... One reviewer (this one) described (Windows 95) as "an edifice built of baling wire, chewing gum and prayer."

Windows 98 adds duct tape, caulk and pesticide. Think of it as a minimal renovation that spruces up the place a bit, plugs some leaks, exterminates some bugs and adds some new plumbing.

The wire, gum and prayer remain.

David Einstein of the San Francisco Chronicle

Windows 98 proves a main contention of Microsoft's most vocal critics: Take away competition, and innovation also disappears.

How else can you explain this uninspiring "upgrade" to Windows 95, which goes on sale Thursday?

Windows 98 contains few improvements over Windows 95, the operating system that runs most of the personal computers in the universe.

And none of the improvements are earthshaking enough to make anyone run out and pay $89 for it.

Scott Finnie, Windows Magazine Online

Windows 98 isn't going to make you get up and dance a jig. It's an evolutionary upgrade, not one that significantly redefines the way you work with your PC, especially if you've been using Internet Explorer 4.0.

When you come right down to it, the main reason to switch to Win98 is just that it runs better than Win95.

And since you'll be able to upgrade from Win98 to NT 5.0 (if all goes as Microsoft plans), you're not running down an evolutionary blind alley.

Ed Bott, PC Computing Online

If you liked Windows 95, you'll love Windows 98. That's not to say it's perfect - far from it.

But the latest incarnation of the world's most popular operating system fixes many of the bugs and annoyances that plague Windows 95 users, and it's absolutely essential for systems that incorporate new hardware advances like DVD players and USB peripherals.

Scott Spanbauer, PC World

If Windows 95 was a great leap forward, Win 98 is a series of baby steps.

No single feature of this $90 (street price) upgrade screams 'buy me,' and many improvements are available as free downloads or in recent Win 95 versions.

Ultimately, the new operating system's fate will be decided in court.

Moreover, industrial-strength Windows NT 5.0 waits in the wings.

It will incorporate most of Win 98's new features and should be more secure, stable, and manageable.

With NT 5.0 due early next year, many users (especially corporate types) may wait before upgrading.

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