Microsoft to belatedly offer Y2K fixes

Microsoft to belatedly offer Y2K fixes

Microsoft will roll out a comprehensive series of products and services in the first quarter of 1999 designed to help companies perform year 2000 remediation on their IT infrastructures.

The series of products and services is due to be announced in mid-December, according to Don Jones, Microsoft's year 2000 product manager. The offering will include tools to fix problems at six levels including hardware, operating systems, applications, documents, custom code, and interfaces.

The Microsoft year 2000 tools that will be part of the offering will come from a number of sources, including internal Microsoft development, partnerships with third-party tool vendors, and perhaps acquisitions of third-party tool vendors, Jones said. Microsoft currently lists third-party year 2000 tools on its Web site but does not endorse those tools.

Microsoft plans to settle on the final best-of-breed group to include in its overall offering.

Analysts said the package will be a very complete solution, but questioned the timing of such a release.

"Most of us hoped they would be at this point a year ago. Many users are well under way on fixing their year 2000 problem and won't need the Microsoft tools," said Rob Enderle, an analyst at the Giga Information Group.

For those who have not yet begun the process of testing year 2000 problems, however, the name "Microsoft" may carry enough weight to speed up tool and service purchasing decisions.

Microsoft's offering of tools and services will dovetail nicely with the release of Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0, according to Dwight Davis, an analyst at Summit Strategies, in Washington.

Year 2000 remediation

"SMS 2.0 has various features that play directly into year 2000 remediation," Davis said. "For example, the server will do an inventory of what software is loaded on PCs on the network."

SMS 2.0 can electronically distribute software upgrades, patches or fixes, easing the load of an IT manager charged with performing the remediation.

Due for release at the end of this year, the product also includes a year 2000 database with information on what software requires what type of fixes.

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