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MS denies Win98 part two is paid-for service pack

There will be a free service pack too, Redmonds sniffs...

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Microsoft's slender press release on WinHEC has had a footnote added today that is intended to clarify the position about the Windows 98 service pack, and Windows 98 second edition. Microsoft is evidently peeved that the media have come to the conclusion that Windows 98-2ed is primarily a bug fix for which Microsoft will charge. Not so says Microsoft. There will be a bug fix for W98-1ed (which Microsoft calls service pack 1 - SP1 - to address issues with existing features) "in the next few months" as a free download. It will include a Y2K update (despite Gates saying years ago that there were only problems with old iron). It will also have IE 4.01 service pack 2. The new features of W98-2ed will include IE5 ("free forever", but yours for $89 if you live in the USA), as well as Internet connection sharing (presumably an IE5 extension, or should that be "integrated" like the non-integrated IE5 that can be downloaded on a good day with a new moon). Oh yes, W98-2ed will also have SP1, which is free. So there you have it: IE5 has a price, and it's $89. OEMs will pre-load W98-2ed, Microsoft confidently predicts, while existing W98-1ed punters will be able to buy a CD for $19.95, no doubt only if they live in the USA. It is worth investigating what happens if users try to run Office 2000, when it comes out, with Windows 95 (you'll be lucky) or even W98-1ed (you'll need IE5, which is of course in W98-2ed, unless there is a new moon or you've bought the CD somehow). The other conundrum is just what Joachim Kempin meant in his evidence at the Microsoft trial that it would not be an option for Microsoft to charge an annual fee for Windows until 2001. Is there possibly something we haven't been told? ®

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