| Microsoft's Gates to Debut Windows 98 in Japan on June 17
May 7, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates will debut Windows 98
on June 17 in Japan.
|However, local subsidiary Microsoft Co., Ltd. of Japan will release the Japanese
version of Windows 98 on July 25.
On the July 25 launch date, rollout events like those that accompanied the release
of Windows 95 are expected to be held across Japan in all of the big shopping
districts for electrical goods, such as Akihabara in Tokyo and Nipponbashi in
Osaka. Personal computer manufacturers will also start shipping PC models
pre-installed with Windows 98 from the launch date.
The price of upgrading to Japanese Windows 98 from Windows 95 or Windows 3.1 will
be around 13,000 yen (US$100), according to sources. The upgrade will be available
initially only as a CD-ROM version for AT-compatible PCs and NEC Corp.'s PC-9800
Because the Japanese Windows 98 will be released too late for the traditional
summer-bonus sales season, many PC manufacturers will offer an upgrade service for
products purchased after May 1 as a way of beefing up the slow sales expected this
The upgrade services will allow purchasers of Windows 95 personal computers to
obtain the Windows 98 upgrade version, free of charge or for a price, once Windows
98 goes on sale.
With the exception of a few non-committal companies, most PC manufacturers were
moving toward providing a free service at the time of Nikkei Personal Computing's
survey in late April.
A chief executive at one company said that although free upgrades would cost
nearly half a billion yen and represent a considerable burden for the
manufacturer, there is no other choice in a competitive market.
The specific products and procedures for the upgrade service differ among
manufacturers. The general trend is to offer Windows 98 upgrades on new models
sold from May onward, but some manufacturers may also offer upgrades on old models
sold from May 1 in order to eliminate existing inventory. Most manufacturers
regard Windows 98 as an operating system for personal users, and many will make
the upgrade version available to corporate users as a for-fee service only.
The typical upgrade procedure is for the manufacturer to package a coupon
purchased from Microsoft with each product. The user sends the coupon back to
Microsoft and receives the Windows 98 upgrade version by return mail.
Some manufacturers are considering different methods, however. The direct
marketing company, Dell Computer Corp. of Japan will send the upgrade version free
of charge to all users who place an order between May 1 and July 31.
NEC, Fujitsu Ltd. and Hitachi Ltd. have been running "be in early" Windows 98
sales campaigns since the fall of 1997. While promising discounts on Windows 98 to
PC purchasers, these companies have not yet given any definite indication of what
the discount is worth or how it will be provided. As there has been no formal
statement from Microsoft about the price of Windows 98, the Japanese manufacturers
will likely advertise discount details after the Windows 98 price is announced on
(Nikkei Personal Computing)