Call it Windows 98: MS dubs next OS

Long on hype but short on surprise, Microsoft Corp. today made it official. The next version of Windows will be called Windows 98.

Microsoft did not give a release date -- although presumably users can start looking for the new operating system in 1998.

At a briefing in Seattle Wednesday, Paul Maritz, group vice president of platforms and applications, confirmed the Windows 98 moniker, and outlined Microsoft's system recommendations to individual and corporate users.

The company announced some product specifics, but there were few surprises. The user interface includes many features found in Web browsers, including back and forward arrows and one-click opening of files.

A Disk Defragmentation Wizard will allow users to optimize their hard disk for programs they use most often. And Windows 98 "will be more manageable and self-maintaining," Maritz said. One tool will help restore system files in the event of a crash, for example.