Big Blue Sees Windows Of Opportunity

It appears Windows fans will have to wait until at least early next year for Microsoft Corp.'s follow-on, known as "Chicago." That leaves an opening for rivals--or so IBM hopes. "We'll make the most of the delay in Windows," says Walter Casey, director of marketing for IBM's Personal Software Products Div. Big Blue is adding new features to its OS/2 operating system that match those promised for Chicago. For instance, a version of OS/2 due in October will come with communications software for dialing into and navigating on-line services, such as the Internet, or holding electronic conferences with far-flung colleagues. And, like Chicago, it's designed to run in 4 megabytes, perfect for bare-bones machines and portables.

The new IBM software, code-named "Warp," will sport a new graphical interface that lets you organize your desktop, for example, by grouping commonly used applications in a special box called a "launch pad." The interface also features three-dimensional icons plus "mood" color palettes, such as "Blue Jean" and "Autumn." The question now: Will the new OS/2 be enough to lift Big Blue's mood indigo?

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.