Other things people do with beta versions of the operating system

Somewhat belatedly riffing on Larry and his discussion of time bombs in beta products, I'm reminded of one instance of a major PC manufacturer who apparently couldn't wait for Windows 95 to RTM. Tired of waiting, they shipped several thousands of machines with a late beta version of Windows 95 instead.

That worked out really great. For six months.

And then all the computers expired.

Boy did they have a lot of 'splainin' to do.

Comments (5)
  1. Tim says:

    I seem to remember that Disney shipped a PC game once that used a pre-release version of an early version of DirectX (possibly when it was still called the Game SDK).

    Of course, the game ran fine in QA, but the trouble was, the DX runtimes expired just before Christmas…boy, were there a lot of upset children (and parents) then :-)

  2. Techboy says:

    Haha, excellent timing :P

    Silly that people would do this.. I assume that’s why the timebomb time has been reduced to 2 weeks or something now? :)

  3. Steveg says:

    In oz you can submit your compulsory personal tax return each year via an ATO (IRS equiv) application. I added some instrumentation to retrieve the windows version and other system factoids.

    With > 1 million there were several dozen beta/alpha versions of Windows in use, including Windows 95 pre-releases. I was quite surprised to find that 10 years later someone’s still running a beta Win95.

  4. Chip says:

    ^^^ Wow, the Oz government is snooping on your computer.  To heck with MS, worry about the.gov.au :)

  5. steveg says:

    User acknowledges privacy agreement. Anyway, the non-tax info is put into an anonymous bucket which cannot be traced back to a person.

    Aus Govt has draconian powers to spy on a lot more than which version of windows your pc has. Keyloggers, taps (phone + ISP) etc, etc.

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