A WHOOSH FROM WINDOWS 95?
If the economy picks up steam during the rest of the year, Microsoft Corp. Chairman William H. Gates III will deserve a modicum of credit, says economist Charles Lieberman of Chemical Securities Inc. That's because hundreds of thousands of computer owners will be switching over to Windows 95.
Industry reports indicate that U.S. and Canadian consumers snapped up some $90 million worth of Win95 in the first four days. And that includes neither the sales of updated software products and computers with Win95 already installed nor the big bucks that computer users will spend for hard disks and memory to bring their hardware up to snuff.
Add it all up, and there's a good chance that computer-related sales will hype August's final nonauto retail number by at least 0.3%, says Lieberman. And with school starting and Christmas a few short months away, the surge is only beginning.BY GENE KORETZ