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1998-04-15 19:39:56


Microsoft's Y2K Site: Yes, We Have Minor Problems



Microsoft has been (predictably) silent on y2k. Now it is beginning to come clean. Its products are not 2000-compliant. Some are; others have bugs. The company claims that these bugs are minor.

This is from ABC NEWS (April 15).

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April 15 — Some Microsoft products used on thousands of computers will have problems after Dec. 31, 1999, and Bill Gates turned the light on the Year 2000 bugs in his software today. Microsoft's new Year 2000 Resource Center is now alive on the Web. There's a picture of Gates on the home page, reassuring millions of customers that “we are committed to providing the information you need.”

Will the Software Survive?

The main event is a menu listing various Microsoft products—from Encarta to Office 98—that describes how well they will work after 1999. If a program only uses a two-digit date, it might either think that 2000 is not a leap year or think the year is 1900 or 1980 and make mistakes. ``These issues truly are minor and…they truly are not threats to the core stability of the operating system,'' says Jason Matusow, Microsoft Year 2000 strategy manager. In announcing the site, he says that the problem is serious but not the end of the world. “The vast majority of our products are compliant or compliant with minor issues.” For example, Word 5 for DOS has serious problems and must be replaced with a newer version. Windows 95 has “minor issues.” The``find file'' feature will not work correctly for dates past Dec. 31, 1999. Although accurate file searches will be possible, the utility will not be able to sort files by the date of the most recent change. . . .

The Great Unknown: Windows 3.1

What about Windows 3.1, which is still used on numerous computers? Nobody knows. Microsoft is still testing it. The company says no serious glitches have been found yet. A user's guide is planned for release this winter. . . .

Microsoft's site tells users to inventory and analyze their computer systems for problems, replace and repair the problems, and start upgrading. It also recommends users check their spreadsheets, databases and other applications to make sure the dates will know that year 00 is after year 99. Matusow says most of Microsoft's bugs are minor and that bigger PC problems come from built-in clocks that don't understand the Year 2000. He advised users to investigate their hardware. “Even machines bought in 1997 should be looked at,” he says. . . .

The company says it will keep working on helping users keep their products working through 2000. “We have hundreds of people working on this issue,” says Matusow. He would not state how much money Microsoft spends fighting the bugs or how many users are affected by them.


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