Wanna buy some software? I've got some y'know. To you z25.
Why is it so cheap you might ask? Well it does have a coupe of bytes missing.
OK, when I say a couple of bytes I mean it isn't finished yet. I'm sorry about that, but my software is rather important and while the final version will be z100 I want this pre-release version to go on the market so the punters can get a feel of it (and I can get a feel of their z25).
Don't look at me like that, this is perfectly good software and when it is finished you will be so proud that you had a z25 unfinished version of it, maybe you would want to have the disks mounted on something. You might want to mount them on a plinth. I don't really know if a plinth would be the right thing to have a disk full of not quite finished code on, but I just like writing the word plinth.
Well, so it is with Microsoft. How gratified I was to hear that Microsoft is making 20,000 copies of Windows 98 Beta 3 available to home users.
And at z25 a throw, 20,000 does ring up a tidy sum of z500,000 which can go towards a nice holiday for some Microsoft employees, say the Windows 98 developers.
How nice it is of Microsoft to think of the public like this. Apparently these Preview Programme Kits include a CD ROM with Windows 98, a Getting Started Guide, product release notes and a programme brochure, presumably with details of dozens more unfinished Microsoft programs.
A typically thoughtful package from Microsoft. I don't know if it's included in the Preview Program kit but I wonder if there is a 'recover your data because it has been trashed by some half-arsed half-finished software' kit, it could well be worth a look.
Selling unfinished software, is just the move we want from the market.
Obviously this is no new idea from the computer industry, but it's Microsoft's panache in coming up with the idea of calling it Home Preview kits that makes it stand out.
I'm sure there is a big market to be tapped here.
Perhaps Boeing could do it with say, jumbo jets. 'Boeing presents a special 747 Home Preview Kit. For a mere z100 you can be the proud owner of a jumbo jet that hasn't yet passed its airworthy tests. Yes, of course it is functionally finished,' the harassed PR person says. 'It has wings and everything and yes we have even taken it off the ground, and our engineers have built it to fly, but no you are correct we don't fly on our holidays in it.'
I have decided that this column should be part of the new trend. It is functionally finished and has been checked, but is not quite finished, in fact we have detected a slight bug in it as it just tends to stop in mid-sentence. But don't worry in the slightest, this will be fixed in the ...
Chris Long is a freelance IT journalist.
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