AF decree: Win95 is Desktop IV upgrade

The Air Force has decreed that Microsoft Windows 95 is a
software upgrade under the terms of the Desktop IV contract and must be provided free to
as many as 300,000 users.


The Desktop IV contractors are required to provide free software upgrades for all
systems they sell through the contract. The multimillion-dollar contract has brought 486
and Pentium PCs bundled with Windows 3.x and the Microsoft Office suite to desktops
throughout the military services and some civilian agencies.


The two contractors have fought the Air Force on the Win95 issue, saying it is not an
upgrade to Windows 3.x but rather a new operating system [GCN, Jan. 8, Page 1]. They said
the Air Force decision will cost them more than $27 million.


A spokesman said contractor Zenith Data Systems Corp. will provide the upgrades,
although it disagrees with the decision.


"We are not in the habit of ignoring the terms of a contract," he said.
"We don't agree, but we'll ship it out. We're working on the logistics now. We're
talking about close to 200,000 machines. We're thinking about the best way to send it to
the field."


The ZDS spokesman said few orders have come in for Win95 upgrades so far, probably
because of the federal furloughs and recent bad weather, but he expects a rush of orders
by the end of the month. "We're currently shipping new [systems] with Win95 and
Office 95," he said.


Peter Janke, executive vice president and chief financial officer of the other Desktop
IV contractor--Government Technology Services Inc. of Chantilly, Va.--said, "Win95
certainly represents a significant advance in operating system technology. We're glad to
make it available to all of our customers as soon as possible, and we're currently in the
process of negotiating Win95 upgrade options with the Air Force."


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