Microsoft will live up to its reputation as marketing king of the hill with a flurry of incentives to encourage users and software vendors to move to Windows NT 4.0 Workstation. The OS is expected by the end of August or beginning of September in this country.
Similar to the Trial 95 CD-ROM issued to coincide with the release to manufacturing of Windows 95, Microsoft is offering Trial 97, a disk containing three-month time-bombed versions of Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 Workstation plus tools that analyse the financial implications of implementing NT Workstation, NT Server and Windows 95. IT managers can enter information about their company to create a matrix that establishes cost of deployment, including hardware, software, training, helpdesk and other costs. "Everything gets put into the pot and potential buyers are given the tools to work out costs and benefits," said Anne Mitchard, desktop systems manager at Microsoft UK.
The Trial 97 disk will be handed out at seminars and briefings conducted by Microsoft as part of extensive tours to promote NT as a viable desktop as well as server environment. Cost-of-ownership studies will also be available and most data will be available at Microsoft's Web site as well as on disk and paper. "The idea is to make it clear to our customers looking to make the decision whether to go 32-bit," Mitchard said.
The 'Designed for Windows 95' logo scheme intended to make software vendors write applications that would run under Windows 95 and Windows NT is to be replaced with the subtly different 'Designed for Windows 95 and Windows NT' from 1997. The new logo will only be given to software packages that fully perform under both environments rather than ones that run fine under Windows 95 but "degrade gracefully" under Windows NT, Mitchard said. Later in 1997, a hardware version of the logo will be available but Microsoft UK was unable to provide details of requirements to qualify for the sticker.
Rivals carp at what they claim are strong-arm tactics but they would do better to copy the ways Microsoft promotes its products. It's not always the case - the Microsoft Network a prime example - but generally Big Green covers its customers with reasons to buy its products. How would OS/2 be sitting now if IBM had swapped marketing staff with Microsoft's for the release of OS/2 2.0?