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Windows Hoopla Cubed

Microsoft never formally announced Windows 3.0, so its release last week was not officially late, though users had been waiting anxiously since early this year. But now it's here and opinions vary widely.

One person on Usenet claimed that Windows 3.0 will cure cases of "Mac envy" while another person disagreed, saying that he thinks the Mac is still easier to use and still has a better graphical interface even though he is an IBM hacker.

The trade magazines were also unsure as to the impact of Windows. PC WEEK ran a separate 62 page Special Report on Windows alone and in one article quoted Bill Gates, chairman and cofounder of Microsoft, as saying "There is nothing in this industry that Windows 3.0 isn't going to change." Yet another article in the same supplement echoes the same sentiments we have heard from Macintosh users who have used Windows 3.0-namely "So what?" MacWEEK too printed statements from several Mac users that say basically the same thing as well.

Interestingly enough, Windows destroys one of the "edges" IBM-clones held over the Mac for so long. Little software is written for Windows, and software that isn't written for Windows may not run or will reap none of the benefits of the Windows environment. So now the Windows world is playing catch up to the Mac in terms of powerful software. And although at least Lotus will be coming out with a Windows-specific version of 123, it (along with a Windows version of WordPerfect) doesn't exist yet. Another person on Usenet posted his experiences trying to run various programs under Windows as opposed to getting them to run under Desqview, a character-based multitasking program. His opinion was that Microsoft was unconcerned about helping with anything not written for Windows, whereas the Desqview people were more than happy to help with his problems. He and others talked about the increasing number of expansion busses, graphics systems, chip sets, BIOSes, operating systems, operating environments, and CPU's that were by their very existence producing incompatibilities in the PC world. We feel incompatibilities are inevitable with a computer standardized by popularity rather than company guidance, as Apple has done with the Mac.

Lest it appear that we are being defensive about Windows, let it suffice to say that we support anything that advances the level of personal computing. We aren't worried about Apple going under in the face of cheap IBM-clones running Windows because the Mac is still cleaner and easier to use. Price isn't really an issue either, because the ideal Windows machine will still cost at least $3500 (a 25 MHz 386 machine with color VGA, 4 MB of RAM, and a large hard disk). Of course Windows will run on a plain vanilla 286 with only 1 MB of RAM, but that's masochism of the ilk of running PageMaker on a Mac Plus over TOPS (don't smirk, we've done it). We do hope that Apple will start feeling pressure (whether or not it is really there) and will push a bit harder in the future.

Information from:
Peter Frenning -- pfrennin@altos86.Altos.COM
Sam Shim -- shim@zip.eecs.umich.edu
Peter Nelson -- nelson_p@apollo.HP.COM

Related articles:
MacWEEK -- 22-May-90, Vol. 4 #20, pg. 1
InfoWorld -- 21-May-90, Vol. 12 #21, pg. 1
PC WEEK -- 22-May-90, Vol. 7 #20, pg. 1 and supplement
MacWEEK -- 26-Jun-90, Vol. 4, #24, pg. 47


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