Microsoft has confirmed rumours that Windows 98 will be released on 25 June - just six days ahead of its long-maintained deadline of mid 1998.
An upgrade will be priced at $109 and a full version will be $209. Some industry observers deem the prices too high, although special deals will almost certainly be available.
Microsoft will have to ship the code to PC manufacturers within the next four weeks to allow time to pre-install it on new systems.
The public shipping date gives US federal and state officials little time to file a suit challenging the integration of Internet Explorer into Windows 98. There was speculation that the Department of Justice would force the software giant to ship a version to distributors that does not include Explorer (PC Dealer, 15 April). Such a suit could still be brought after PC manufacturers start preloading the software, but this would be harmful to sales.
Microsoft executives met with US Department of Justice representatives last week, but the content of the talks has not been disclosed.
Microsoft is not planning the same kind of massive media campaign that accompanied the release of Windows 95 - when stores opened at midnight in order to sell the first copies.
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