"Microsoft Corp. is taking an aggressive approach to speeding
deployment of Windows 2000 -- shipping the latest beta version to
PC OEMs as if it were a final product.
The latest beta of the operating system, Windows 2000 Beta 3,
which is due later this month, will be preinstalled on the
commercial desktop lines of several PC makers, including
At Comdex in Chicago this month, Microsoft is expected to trot
out a number of hardware partners that have agreed to preload
Windows 2000 Beta 3 on their Windows NT 4.0 systems. Users who buy
machines preloaded with the beta will receive coupons allowing them
a free upgrade once Windows 2000 ships, according to sources."
"The strategy of seeding the market with a beta product strikes
some observers as questionable, even if the beta is free.
'It strikes me as odd the hardware vendors are promoting this,'
said Dwight Davis, an analyst at Summit Strategies in Kirkland,
Wash. 'There's a fair amount of up-front work the hardware vendor
will have to do to make sure the beta works well with their stuff.
It's a somewhat risky proposition for hardware vendors to get
behind a beta in such a public fashion.' "
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