Reprinted from InfoWorld, August 21, 1995 (Vol. 17, Issue 34)

From the News Desk

By Jai Singh

Trust a duffer to put Win95 in perspective

"Looks like you're in the computer field," said my playing partner Digby, as we waited to tee off.

"Yeah, sort of," I replied, tugging at my Microsoft Golf hat and OS/2 T-shirt (hey, I'd at least paid for my shoes and shorts).

"So what's all this fuss about Aug. 24?" he asked, pulling out his titanium driver from the golf bag.

"Well, it's the biggest event of the decade," I said. "Finally, the PC world will get a 32-bit operating system that is designed to be graphical from the ground up, has a file folder metaphor, incorporates plug-and-play capability, has built-in networking, and is generally easy to use."

"Didn't that Macintosh thing deliver all this over a decade ago?" Digby asked, with a know-it-all smirk.

For someone seemingly so up to date, Digby sure had some gaps in his knowledge base. He sure hadn't heard the "it's a bird, it's a plane, it's Microsoft" line.

"Yeah, but this is Microsoft," I said. "Superman has nothing over this behemoth. No one's discovered an antidote like kryptonite to fell this giant. It can stare down the Justice Department, it can force OEMS and ISVs to acquiesce to its contractual terms. This is a company that, when it sneezes, the Dow drops 25 points. And when Ted Turner needs to borrow a couple billion to buy CBS, he heads toward Redmond."

"OK, but if an OS is just the engine that does the internal housekeeping, what's the ado about Win 95?" he asked. "I mean, I don't fret over the engine in my Lexus. I steer the wheels, turn on the lights, and change gears, and it gets me from here to there. I was talking to my friend Hank who didn't even know what Windows was because his Packard-Bell came with the Navigator shell. It lets him do all his work without having to bother with what makes his spreadsheet hum."

Digby was on a roll now. "Besides, wasn't there a report that if you wanted a bullet-proof tank you should buy Windows NT? And didn't Microsoft itself admit to overhyping Win95?"

"They sure did," I said.

"And didn't they lay half the blame on the media?" he asked.

"Et tu, my golfing buddy?" I cried.

Write me via the Internet at jai_singh@infoworld.com or via MCI at 520-1152.