Analysts are advising users to bypass Windows NT 5.0 and wait for later releases because of performance concerns, but resellers warn Microsoft must get it right first time.
"I don't think Microsoft can afford for NT 5.0 to be bug-ridden -- they're putting their life on it," Andrew Fern, Microsoft certified systems engineer at Phillipson Fletcher Business IT Solutions, told ARN. "They've made big purchases to incorporate components into NT 5.0 that they haven't developed themselves and they can't afford for it to fail. It's not an option."
Matt Crowe, manager of networking at Total Support Services, agrees.
"If NT 5.0 is flawed, Microsoft will have major problems getting back the mind-share of the majority of IT managers," he said.
Fears about the stability of NT 5.0 were raised at the recent GigaWorld IT Forum '98 in the US. Rob Enderle, director of desktop and mobile technology at Giga Information Group, said that with 30 million lines of code -- 85 per cent of which is new -- Windows NT 5.0 is likely to be buggy.
"It's too complex and too new," he said. "Even inside Microsoft there's a realisation that the product won't ramp to volume until NT 6.0 because of the fear of initial releases."
Enderle advised users to wait for NT 5.0's service pack 3, or NT 5.5, which is likely to be released about 12 months later.
Peter Kazacos, managing director of Kaz Computer Services, is one reseller who won't be rushing his customers to use the new platform.
"We won't tell our customers, who are medium and large organisations, to use NT 5.0 straight away," he said. "If they are going to use it for line-of-business applications, they will wait for the service packs anyway because most have come from mainframe and Unix environments, and that's what they used to do there."
* Elinor Mills contributed to this article