NEW YORK -- They've kicked the tires and taken it for a spin, but retailers are not scrambling to upgrade their operating systems to Windows 95.
The much-touted new operating system from Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., was officially released on Aug. 24.
"We estimated that if we upgrade to Windows 95, we're talking about a cost of $1.5 million for memory upgrades, hard disk upgrades, software upgrades, utilities, new applications as necessary, and in some cases, new PCs," said Al Carville, vice president of information systems at Hannaford Bros., Scarborough, Maine.
The 95-store chain's computers currently run on the Windows 3.1 operating system, and some older computers running specific applications are operating on MS-DOS, he said. Those two operating systems run on more than 100 million computers around the world.
At A&P, Montvale, N.J., significant systems upgrades would be necessary to switch to Windows 95, said Peter Rolandelli, corporate vice president of management information systems.
"We're going through an upgrade process now, but Windows 95 would force a hardware investment.
"You have to ask yourself: How good a word processor do you need? Windows 95, with all of its features, may be the Rolls Royce when all you need is the Chevy," Rolandelli said.
Carville said the new operating system will have more impact on the consumer market, initially.
"I think Windows 95 is going to be a big thing for the consumer but the corporate user is going to approach this in a very cautionary manner," he said, citing concerns about staff training issues and potential software conflicts.
The threat of "bugs" inherent in new releases is enough to keep companies like Associated Grocers of New England, Manchester, N.H., from installing the new system any time soon, said David Hayes, director of information services.
"Very few people would put in release 1.0 of anything," he said. The new operating system boasts speedier processing and multitasking capabilities on 32-bit programs; however, many programs retailers use today are written in 16-bit data format.