Win2K sales climb

Win2K sales climb

Sales figures from the US last week indicate global shipments of Windows 2000 hit the one million mark in March, less than one month after the product's February 17 launch.

But despite the optimism from Microsoft and some local integrators, at least one player from the developer community has voiced a word of caution against early deployment.

Peter Bray, managing director of Sydney Web developer Guava Interactive, said the company does not offer solutions to its clients it hasn't already used itself.

"Just because there is a new technology it doesn't mean we have to offer it to our clients straight away," Bray said. "We have a general rule of thumb that we wait six months before we use a new technology and it's definitely worthwhile."

He said Microsoft will continue to release patches for Windows 2000, just as it did with Windows 95. "We're going to wait until the patches are there so we can be sure that it's a safe environment.

"That happens with almost every piece of software and you don't want to be the one to find all these bugs. So, we're not going to touch Windows 2000 until later this year because we played around with it and we know there are some problems."

Microsoft officials said last Wednesday that the 1 million figure includes sales of Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows 2000 Advanced Server sold through channel resellers, retail outlets, and PC manufacturers.

The total does not, however, include large corporations that have purchased licences through enterprise agreements, which if factored in would push sales over the 1 million mark. The message from Microsoft Australia and its other channel partners is largely upbeat, with integrators in particular anticipating a good take-up of the operating system in the coming months.

Curiously though, a company spokesman claimed the volume of calls to the Microsoft Customer Support centre has been lower than for any other operating system released by Microsoft on a per-unit-sold basis.

David Johnson, director of managed services at ICT services provider Getronics Australia, said it was seeing a lot of demand for Windows 2000.

He said Getronics was using Windows 2000 itself and that gave it a high level of confidence that it would do what Microsoft said it would do. "As a consequence of that we know exactly what we're doing and can pass that benefit on to our customers."

Dennis Woolcock, national services manager at systems integrator Praxa, also said interest in Windows 2000 had been "as expected" from its customers.

"It's like with any technology markets - you'll have your earlier adopters and other people who will wait until it's been adopted in the marketplace," Woolcock said. He believes it can be expected that organisations will start to take up the product as the year progresses.

"We believe at the moment there are no major issues stopping organisations adopting Windows 2000."

Kevin Burke, director, small- and medium-enterprise group, Microsoft Australia, commented that demand had been "as expected".

"The primary demand, the strong demand that we expected has come from the OEM channel for sales of new operating systems on new machines," Burke said.

Burke said most of the sales it was currently seeing were to smaller businesses.

"What we'll see in the next few months is some of the larger organisations will start their implementations and rollouts of Windows 2000."

"In the business market it [the driver] is ‘what is the return I will get for my business on investing in this piece of software'," Burke said.

"So it's very much a dollars and cents decision."

He believes the reseller is always an extremely important factor in the acceptance of a product.

"That's why we spend a lot of time preparing the channel through the training programs that we've had and are still running today."

Burke said response from resellers had been "reasonably quiet" in regard to stability and upgrade issues. "There are a number of technical issues, but no more than the normal run rate of technical issues that we get from our products at launch time."

Meanwhile, prior to its February launch, some 20 local independent software vendors (ISVs), including Technology One, MYOB and Sybiz, tested and ported their software to Windows 2000.

The testing was conducted at the Microsoft DNA Laboratory in Melbourne by the lab's operator Expert Information Services, which planned to have around 70 applications tested and certified for Windows 2000 compatibility over the next three months.

Last month, Peter Summers, the lab's project manager for Windows 2000, told ARN "the testing has been highly successful and we've mainly had minor problems with installation or on the application side of things" (ARN, March 1, page 42).

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