Major PC makers plan Y2K alliance : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

For educational purposes only ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ /news/19990507/2255045.inp

Major PC makers plan Y2K alliance By Lisa DiCarlo 05/07/99 10:24:00 AM

A mere eight months before the turn of the century, major PC makers will jointly announce a Y2K compliance specification for small/midsize businesses and home PC buyers. But some critics say the effort is too little, too late for customers to make any meaningful changes in preparing for year 2000.

Despite the late date, the 12 members, dubbed the PC Y2K Alliance, will go live on Monday with a Web site ( that defines in non-technical terms exactly what the Y2K problem is, how and why customers should fix it, as well as diagnostic tools and links to alliance members' Web sites.

If that sounds familiar, it's because the individual companies have had roughly the same data on their own Web sites for over a year. According to executives involved, the value-add for users will be consistent and easy-to-understand information available in a central location.

One place, one voice

"We will bring [the information] together in one place with one industry voice, to show that we're all saying the same thing," said John Archer, director of strategic marketing at Phoenix Technologies Inc., and the person who initiated dialogue with the other companies. The group consists of representatives from IBM (IBM), Dell Computer Corp. (DELL), Compaq Computer Corp. (CPQ), Hewlett-Packard Co. (HWP), Gateway Inc. (GTW), Fujitsu, Acer America Inc., Hitachi PC Corp., Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Intel Corp. (INTC), Phoenix and AMI.

Archer and others say their collaboration was enabled by the October 1998 passage of the Y2K Information and Readiness Disclosure Act, which establishes uniform standards for the publication of information on Y2K preparedness. It also provides companies with protection from liability.

Others say most companies were too wrapped up in their own Y2K projects to allocate resources to outside efforts.

"In mid-1998 ... [several] of our key suppliers told us what they were doing for Y2K and frankly it scared the bejesus out of us," said Andy Greenawalt, vice president and chief information officer at Dell.

The impact is uncertain

Analysts aren't convinced that the effort will have a significant impact on Y2K understanding or readiness.

"When all is said and done, it's a little late," said David Stremba, analyst at Dataquest Inc. in San Jose, Calif. "But the value they can add is taking the tech lingo of [National Software Testing Lab] and putting it into a layman's terms."

Many companies, including Compaq and Dell, use the NSTL's YMark2000 test as the benchmark for claiming Y2K compliance. However, as a group, the PC Y2K Alliance does not endorse YMark2000 and has instead defined its own set of Y2K-compliance standards.

Archer could not site any differences between NSTL's Y2K benchmark and the alliance's own.

Although Archer acknowledged the lateness in defining a spec, he said the fix for small and midsize businesses, with fewer systems and less legacy software to worry about, will be much easier than for large, complex enterprises.

Dataquest's Stremba agrees. "All efforts prior to now were focused on the corporate environment. Y2K preparedness challenges to these types of customers are miniscule compared to what enterprise customers are dealing with," he said.

Separately, Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday it would launch in June a Y2K site for consumers. The site will include information and compliance updates on Microsoft products.


-- Michael Taylor (, May 07, 1999


Thanks Michael.

Gotta love our Mac's, right?


-- Diane J. Squire (, May 07, 1999.

hah Diane!

I could be one of those Macevangelist types and say "that's exactly what I meant by "educational" purposes" ; )

but I wont do that!

Mike ==================================================================

-- Michael Taylor (, May 07, 1999.

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