Microsoft's "perfect tuneup" for its widely used computer operating system needed a tuneup itself Monday: Windows 98 crashed as Bill Gates provided a glimpse of its features at the Comdex computer industry trade show in Chicago.
The software, scheduled to be released in June and retailing for about $89, collapsed when a Microsoft employee attempted to plug in a scanner, with his boss standing alongside. Gates was forced to move to another computer to complete his demonstration of the successor to Windows 95.
"I guess we still have some bugs to work out," the Microsoft chairman said ruefully. "That must be why we're not shipping Windows 98 yet."
Microsoft had been planning to debut the finished version of Windows 98 at spring Comdex, the first major computer show of the year.
But industry observers said the launch was delayed because of today's U.S. appeals court hearing in the Justice Department's antitrust case against Microsoft.
Gates did not comment on the case or on an investigation by state attorneys general into possible predatory business practices on the part of his company.
Gates said Windows 98 will be far simpler to use than the popular Windows 95, which has sold 150 million copies. Computer makers are expected to begin using the system this summer, and the 95 version should quickly become obsolete, Gates said.
"Windows 98 is a very obvious move up from Windows 95," he said. "It is a straightforward refinement with a lot of neat new things."