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Windows in 95% of PCs by 1999

Microsoft will have a 95 percent share of operating system shipments on computers worldwide by 1999, a research firm predicts.

Microsoft could command 95 percent of all operating system shipments on all computers worldwide by 1999, paced by the rollout of Windows 98 and the coming transition to Windows NT, a market research firm predicted.

As worldwide operating system shipments grow to 110 million units in 1998 from 93 million units in 1997, the software giant will make gains despite the range of competing software products, Dataquest said in a report released today.

The upcoming Windows upgrade will leading the market with 56.7 million unit shipments, mostly on new personal computers. Analysts anticipate modest or even tepid demand for Windows 98, perhaps totaling only 5.5 million units.

Meanwhile, Windows NT shipments will continue to accelerate, as the OS continues making inroads against Unix in the enterprise arena. Later on, it will begin to supplant Windows 98 in the small office-home use sector.

"This is the last hurrah for the current architecture. The next version of Microsoft's consumer OS, Windows 2000, will be based on an [Windows] NT kernel," Dataquest's Chris Le Tocq said in a prepared statement.

Windows 98 is due to launch on June 25, but the buildup to its release has been punctuated by an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Justice Department, which alleges that Microsoft's practice of bundling its Internet Explorer Web browser with the OS is anticompetitive. Windows 98 incorporates Internet Explorer, raising questions of whether Microsoft is using its unchallenged position in operating systems to gain an unfair advantage in Internet software.