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Microsoft to Corner Floppy Market?

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When released later this year, Windows 95 is expected to ship on 24 to 28 high density floppy disks, and as a result, rumors have abounded that Microsoft is amassing huge quantities of floppies in anticipation of fulfilling millions of orders for the new operating system. This has led to speculation on the world-wide commodity markets that the release of Windows 95 may cause a floppy disk media shortage, causing prices for floppy media to increase.

Microsoft officially refused to comment on this speculation. However, TidBITS managed to speak with a Microsoft program manager about the issue under conditions of anonymity. “Think about it,” our source said. “Wouldn’t Microsoft want the price of floppy disks to be as high as possible when Windows 95 ships? If you need disks, then, the cheapest way to get them in bulk will be to buy a copy of Windows 95! It’s definitely a market-saturation move.” TidBITS managed to obtain an early copy of the Windows 95 registration card. In addition to normal registration information, the card includes a checkbox to indicate “I bought Windows 95 just for the floppy disks.”

Microsoft tested the market-saturation idea earlier this year with its Macintosh products by releasing Microsoft Office on approximately 40 floppies and then continually delaying the CD version of Office containing the Power Mac-native version of Word 6.0. “The feedback was less than positive,” our source said, “but we think we’ll get it right this time.”

In light of this information, TidBITS would like to applaud the efforts of America Online, which has been frantically sending multiple floppy disks free of charge to Mac, PC, and refrigerator owners for the last year. AOL has also attempted to prevent the floppy shortage by bundling disks with newsstand copies of Macworld, Byte, and Ladies Home Journal. In a related announcement, avant-garde artist Christo announced last week that he plans to tile the exterior of New York’s Guggenheim Museum in Mac and PC versions of AOL disks. The proposed work is an impressionistic scene entitled “Washington Crossing the Internet.”

Information from:
Christo Pink Plastic Foundation, Ltd.
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