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Microsoft is charging us for a Service Pack?

May 18, 1999 - Microsoft� announced the release of Windows� 98 Second Edition. This release includes many improvements to the Windows 98 operating system, but is it enough to charge us?

According to Microsoft: Windows 98 Second Edition will be available in a retail box as well as preinstalled on personal computers beginning this summer (1999). Estimated retail pricing for Windows 98 Second Edition for Windows 95 and Windows 3.1 users is $109 (U.S.), the current estimated retail price of Windows 98. Current users of the Windows 98 operating system can receive the updated functionality by ordering Windows 98 Second Edition Updates on CD-ROM, scheduled to be available from the Microsoft Web site in the summer, for $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

We'll let you be the judge. Below are some of the "enhancements" of Windows 98 Second Edition:
(Note: Everything below here in italics is our opinion of the different enhancements)

Making it work better by enhancing hardware support and improving the initial PC user experience. (Isn't this something that all service packs are supposed to do?)

Delivering home networking capabilities through Internet Connection Sharing, advanced technologies that enable multiple users to seamlessly and securely access the Web at the same time, using a single shared Internet connection.

Delivering an improved online experience with enhanced Internet browsing, conferencing and multimedia technologies that provide a faster and easier way to take advantage of all that the Internet has to offer. 

Key new features and enhancements in Windows 98 Second Edition include the following:

Internet Explorer 5, Microsoft's popular browser software, provides breakthroughs in Web performance, usability and flexibility. 
IE 5 is a good upgrade.

 Windows NetMeeting� 3, the latest version of Microsoft's award-winning Windows-based conferencing software, brings Internet conferencing capability to consumers by offering an easier user interface, data conferencing security, enhanced standards support and more. 

Internet Connection Sharing, a set of advanced home networking technologies, enables multiple users to share a single connection to the Internet for simultaneous Internet access.
After looking closely at Internet Connection Sharing, I've realized that Microsoft did a good job. The big problem with Windows in the past has been security, and connection sharing has been a major issue. Microsoft has done a good job concerning security with this enhancement. Anyone with a home or small business network will be able to take advantage of ICS without hiring a guru to set it up for them.

Windows Media™ Player 6.1, the latest version of Windows Media Player, enables playback of popular multimedia formats, including streaming media such as Windows Media, MP3 and more.
Just another enhancement to Media Player.

Enhanced IEEE 1394 support gives support for more devices, such as digital camcorders.
Enhancements are part of any Service Pack.

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) advancements deliver hardware optimizations and more granular control over settings on a device-class basis.
Fixing more power management bugs, eh?

USB improvements include the capability to work with devices on a per-device basis rather than a per-port basis.

WDM modem support supports USB modems and enables hardware vendors to write a single WDM modem driver for Windows 98 and Windows 2000 Professional.

WebTV� for Windows updates provide support for a broader array of analog television tuner cards and Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (AVTEF) standards for HTML-based enhanced programming.
Microsoft needed to do this, so we could get more Microsoft channels from WebTV.

DirectX� API 6.1 delivers a variety of improvements to Windows multimedia technologies, including better audio and video synchronization.

Processor and motherboard optimizations for the latest hardware technologies, including Intel Pentium III, are featured.

Device Bay support enables a system to ship with Device Bay hardware.

Windows 98 Service Pack 1 addresses top issues in existing Windows 98 features, such as Windows 98 year 2000 updates

*Comments made by Ty Belknap and do not reflect Microsoft� official opinions. Many of the titles here are copyrighted � by Microsoft corp., and use of the titles without proper registration marks does not constitute a challenge to that mark. Please email admin at with any copyright issues.

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