Microsoft misinforms users on date bug

Contrary to the information given to Microsoft by Prove It 2000, the software publisher last week told ZDNet News that the bug affecting its date function on Windows 98 only affected machines on Dec 31 of any year. This is not correct and ZDNet News has discovered that Microsoft was fully aware that this was not the case weeks before it offered any comment.

Contrary to the information given to Microsoft by Prove It 2000, the software publisher last week told ZDNet News that the bug affecting its date function on Windows 98 only affected machines on Dec 31 of any year. This is not correct and ZDNet News has discovered that Microsoft was fully aware that this was not the case weeks before it offered any comment.

In our original story Windows product manager David Weeks said the problem had been identified as a "window of less than a second between 11:59 and midnight on Dec 31 of any year". Neither Prove It 2000 or Microsoft know why Dec 31 was given as the date for potential problems. Weeks is on holiday and unavailable for comment.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft told ZDNet News: "At the time, that was the information we had but now we understand it affects any date." However, Bruce Ward, technical director at Prove It 2000, confirmed today that his organisation told Microsoft the problem affected any date "within a few days of the release of Windows 98". Asked if Microsoft had deliberately tried to hide the correct information about the issue, Microsoft Windows 98 product manager Francis Reay said: "No. Based on the information we had at the time, we told you what we knew."

Ward confirmed that the date rollover bug can affect any Windows machine on any date.

Microsoft is still working on a fix for the bug which will be posted on the Win98 Web site. The fix is anticipated "anytime now" according to a spokesperson.

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