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Bugs, Gartner and Dell rain on Win2k's parade

But really, it's all been overblown...

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In the past few days Microsoft has suffered from some unfortunate coincidences. First, Gartner Group VP Michael Gartenberg knocked 6 per cent off the stock price by predicting that 25 per cent of companies would have trouble switching to Win2k. Then the usually trustworthy Michael Dell said he expected uptake of Win2k to be slow, and finally the story got out that Win2k had 63,000 bugs in it. In the run-up to this week's big Win2k launch party, none of this is particularly helpful, and although the bug story might have been useful on its own (because it shows how seriously Microsoft takes its duty to its customers), it does seem to have escaped at the wrong time. 63,000 might seem like a big number, but to be fair it's pretty much what you'd expect from a software project of this size. The number of bugs and their nature are revealed in an internal document leaked to Mary Jo Foley of Smart Reseller (who's obviously been hogging the photocopier all week), and this makes it clear that the headline number is severely misleading. It's a "known defect" list rather than a bug list. There are 21,000 "postponed" bugs, which will generally be stuff that got skipped in order to get to gold code before the end of 99. Then there are 28,000 instances of changes that didn't get made to the code, but these will mostly be cases of the code not working as elegantly as Microsoft wanted it to, rather than of it malfunctioning. In total the document estimates that there are 28,000 issues/defects that might cause problems. Which is of course approximately what you'd expect, and you'd also expect Microsoft to be working feverishly towards Service Pack 1 in order to get them fixed. Numerous analysts have been recommending that companies wait for SP1 or even SP2 before doing a wholesale upgrade, so again we oughtn't to be surprised that there's stuff in the gold code that needs fixing - this was expected. And Gartenberg and Dell? Microsoft's stock price seems to have got the fuzzy end of the spinmeister in these cases too. Gartenberg pointed out that one in four companies upgrading to Win2k are likely to have problems getting it to work with their existing software and systems, and he mildly stressed that companies doing wholesale upgrades should be prepared to tackle the problems. But as wholesale operating system upgrades are non-trivial exercises, he was really only stating the obvious. Dell meanwhile said he wasn't seeing an acceleration of sales because of Win2k, but that's not news either. Microsoft's own predictions, revealed at its analysts meeting last year, are for Win2k to start affecting revenues in the second half. ® See also: Smart Reseller on vast bugcount

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