Originating publication
April 20, 1998, Issue: 785
Section: News

Win 98 Offers VARs New Customization
Redmond, Wash. -- If Bill Gates and Microsoft Corp. support their pledge of "Windows everywhere," then resellers need to perk up to the upcoming release of Windows 98, which will dramatically change an interface millions have embraced.

While most of this new interface has dribbled out of Redmond, over the past year-particularly with Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) 4.0-Windows 98 will represent the first time the interface is embedded into the operating system.

Integrating IE and Active Desktop with the intranet, Internet and extranet creates a window of opportunity for resellers, especially systems integrators. The ability to have almost complete control over the visual operating environment is refreshing; Windows 98 allows a user to do more than just set the desktop pattern. Custom toolbars, embedded Java applets and ActiveX controls allow immense control over the information displayed.

The Active Desktop component is particularly useful, since it literally turns the desktop into a browser: Java applets, ActiveX controls and HTML code can all be displayed and controlled within the OS.

The bottom line is resellers with basic HTML knowledge can transform the desktop without specialized code and high-powered programmers. The IE Channel Bar can be replaced with one more suitable to customers' needs. A savvy reseller could generate sales for high-profit impulse items such as toner, disks and tapes by placing a button on every desktop that leads to the its own Web site.

Resellers should also consider Windows 98 for the innovative file checker that maintains a database of critical system files. Essentially this means the OS is self-healing, fixing problems automatically and even logging on to Microsoft's Web site to download upgrades.