Local integrators are optimistic about Windows 2000 but have cited widespread customer reluctance to implement the operating system immediately.
In fact, for many, business generated from Windows 98 installations for corporates is as popular as ever.
System integrator Volante's technical services manager, Brad Lynch, said many enterprise customers would be sceptical about Windows 2000 due to Microsoft's track record. "It's hard convincing customers who do have a stable environment to upgrade to Win2K," he said.
Nevertheless, Lynch said his company, which carries out integration primarily for enterprises of 500 seats or more, has already begun deploying Windows 2000 to some of its corporate customers. "It [Win2K] is very straightforward compared with the previous NT," he said.
John Whitehead, of PC installation and training company One on One, said that, while Microsoft has been actively discouraging home PC users and gamers to use the current version of Windows 2000 in favour of Windows 98, the majority of serious interest in the product had come from consumers, not corporates.
In fact, most corporate customers were still placing orders for Windows 98, he said. "Microsoft products have always been great . . . to a point."
Siemens technical consultant Peter Vaneris said many of the so-called user-friendly functions built into the new operating system were potentially unattractive to technical administrators. He said that, because of the operating system's automated self-repair system, an administrator wanting to remove files or whole applications would be prevented from doing so by the computer's self-repairing function, which would replace the files or application immediately.
"Some of the control has been taken away," he concluded.
Manager of computer hardware wholesaler Z-Tek, Edmund Wang, said he was optimistic about the user-friendliness of Win2K. He said his company would continue to sell PC "bundle" packages with NT and Windows 98 platforms pre-installed.
Wang said most of his corporate customers wanted to wait five months before installing Windows 2000. "Customers still want Windows 98 second edition," he said. "Microsoft has lost a lot of peoples' trust. The first time, people want it [operating system] to be perfect. When it's not, they want to wait," he explained.
Nathan Stokes, the managing director of consulting and integration company Natronics, said the new operating system "looked promising".
Stokes said he had already tested the beta version of the operating system, which he said had seemed "pretty stable". However, he admitted that testing the beta version of Windows 2000, as with any beta software, was limited. There were crucial Office and Internet applications he had been unable to test, he said.
Stokes said the main deterrent to large-scale enterprise uptake of the system was unattractive pricing. While the outright purchasing cost of Windows 2000 was relatively cheap, the upgrades had in turn become more expensive. "Sure, the development costs have been greater for Microsoft, but the end user doesn't care," he said.
A systems integrator who did not wish to be named said there had been a "noticeable feeling of customer scepticism" surrounding the launch of Win2K. He believes Microsoft's reputation is still marred from the notorious unreliability of Windows 95.