Thursday, June 25, 1998

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
People line up to get into the Honolulu CompUSA store last night,
shortly before Windows 98 went on sale. Microsoft says it planned
less publicity than for Windows 95 because Windows 98
is a less sweeping change.

Win98 debut
is muted, for

But the release does
generate some excitement at
isle computer stores

By Russ Lynch


Despite Microsoft Corp.'s decidely low-key kickoff to its latest software offering, the first day of sales of Windows 98 generated some excitement in Hawaii.

Windows 98 is considered a fairly significant but not totally essential upgrade to Windows 95.

Microsoft's efforts to promote Windows 98 pale in comparison to the media blitz surrounding the launch of Windows 95, which included enlisting musical help from the Rolling Stones for ads and an appearance by late-night comedian Jay Leno at the welcome party.

Seattle-based Microsoft officially kicked off Windows 98 at a small press event in San Francisco today.

In Hawaii, the two biggest computer retailers, Computer City and newcomer CompUSA, both staged special events around the start of Windows 98 sales at 12:01 a.m. today.

"We had definitely a flurry of activity around midnight, with people waiting around for the pallets to be sliced open so they could grab their copies," said Tim Archangeli, Computer City general manager.

Both the store near Ward Center and the Waikele outlet had live music, food and soft drinks and other activities to keep customers entertained from 9 p.m. until well after the Windows 98 sales started.

The Ward store didn't close until 2 a.m., Archangeli said. Many people were there for the sale-priced goods that accompanied the Windows launch.

At the new CompUSA Inc. store at South Street and Ala Moana, which had its official opening Friday, people settled in as early as 8 a.m. yesterday with camp chairs and their own food. "We had lots of people, almost equal to the crowds we had at the grand opening," said Darrell Brungardt, the store's general manager. As for Windows 98, that had good sales but "it appeared that wasn't main thing they were looking for," he said.

Aside from 10 computers offered for just $98 (without monitors) the store also had first-come, first-served vouchers for a number of other discount items, including coupon books worth $392 in travel savings for those who buy the $89.90 Windows 98. That offer is good until tomorrow.

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