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Lousy Intel software 2: Windows 98's full of the stuff

At the 98 launch, Intel listed all its techie contributions -- as a purely precautionary measure, of course...

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In video testimony yesterday Bill Gates claimed Microsoft didn't like Intel's NSP technology because of the poor quality of Intel's software (see earlier story). "We thought the quality of their work was very low as well as not working with any of our new Windows work," he said. "We may have suggested at some point that the net contribution of their software activities could even be viewed as a negative." The records however show that Microsoft has relied heavily on this low-quality software from Intel. At the time of the Windows 98 launch in June, Intel issued a modest list of 15 key technologies it had made a major contribution to in the product. Microsoft, happily, carries a list of new features in Windows 98 on its Web site, so for the edification of our readers, we compare and contrast below: Features FAT32 and FAT32 Conversion Utility This improved version of the FAT file system helps give you more hard drive space by more efficiently using space on large disks. A graphical conversion utility lets you quickly and safely convert a hard drive to FAT32. Tricky one to do, this. A simple file format conversion routine, authored by Microsoft. Performance Enhancements With Windows 98 you will do less waiting. Specifically, Windows 98 can shut down and launch applications faster than Windows 95. You can also boot your system faster with new ACPI machines that have fast-boot BIOS support. Intel contribution number one. According to the Intel document, this is the Intel Application Launch Accelerator, and Intel contributed the "technology and algorithms which enable the accelerated launch capability". Windows Update -- Includes the Update Manager The Windows Update Web Site, an extension to Windows 98, is a Web-based resource site. It gives registered Windows 98 users easy access to the latest drivers and operating system files, along with product assistance. Is the Web site being integrated in 98, or vice versa? DoJ matter, if you ask us. HTML-Based Online Help... 15 Troubleshooting Wizards... Windows Maintenance Wizard... System File Checker Utility... Microsoft WebTV for Windows... Multiple Display Support... This is all very Microsoft stuff -- combination of bolt-ons, dubious bells and whistles and bundling deals. None of it very difficult. But Intel did some of the WebTV (see below). Support for New Generation of Hardware You can now take advantage of the recent innovations in computer hardware. Major hardware standards supported: Universal Serial Bus (USB), IEEE 1394, Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI), and DVD. Payback time for Intel. Says the Intel document: "USB -- Specification champion, joint USB driver development and validation of the Microsoft implementation." We think this means Intel checked to make sure Microsoft hadn't screwed-up. "IEEE 1394 -- P1394a/Open Host Controller Interface protocol enhancements and driver validation." More of that keeping Microsoft on the right track, yes? "AGP -- Delivery of the AGP specification, and collaboration on the architectural implementation... ACPI -- Joint creation of the ACPI specification and validation of the MS operating system power management implementation... DVD -- Consulted on the development of the architecture to support and validated the Microsoft DirectShow implementation for software-based DVD." Web-Aware User Interface... Personalized Internet Information Delivery... Suite of Tools for Internet Communication... Internet Connection Wizard... DirectX 5.0... More of those bells and whistles tottering on the brink of antitrust... But Intel claims "consultation with regards to performance optimisations and architectural improvements in DX5". Built-in Support for the Infrared Specification... Dial-Up Networking Improvements... Multilink Channel Aggregation... Multilink was in 95 -- incremental stuff, basically... Power Management Improvements Built-in support for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) lets you switch on or off your PC like you would your TV set. In addition, Windows 98 supports Advanced Power Management (APM) 1.2 extensions for more power management improvements. Intel: "PCI-Power Management -- Wrote the PCI-PM specification." Support for Intel MMX Processors Provides support for third parties to build software that takes advantage of the Intel Pentium Multimedia Extensions (MMX) for fast audio and video support on the next generation of Intel Pentium processor. Finally -- MMX was introduced in January 97. Intel modestly and no doubt erroneously fails to claim responsibility for Microsoft's efforts here. Win32 Drive Model (WDM) This new, unified driver model for Windows 98 and Windows NT enables new devices to have a single driver for both operating systems. It allows Windows 98 to maintain full legacy device driver support while adding support for new WDM drivers. Intel: "Initiated and consulted on the architecture of the WDM audio driver model... Initiated and validated the architecture of the USB and 1394 driver stacks." PCMCIA Enhancements... Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM)... Client Support for NetWare Directory Services... Incremental, inevitable and peculiar -- it's not like Microsoft to be advertising Novell support as a feature. Other Intel stuff that doesn't seem to relate to the Microsoft 98 brochure, but that does seem likely to enhance the user's experience, includes Indeo "capabilities in Internet Explorer 4.0 [which] allow audio, video and special effects playback... Developed and licensed components of the H.323 infrastructure stack... Quality of Service Components... Drove the Winsock2 specification through the Internet Working Group and provided the first implementation to Microsoft... Intel Intercast software -- Delivered data technology capabilities in WebTV for Windows." Not that we'd know about these things, but it does look a bit like, if Intel software is junk, you'd better not go anywhere near Windows 98. ® Click for more stories Complete Register trial coverage

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