Bring on Y2K; Microsoft Ready

Software giant working on New Year's Eve but doesnm't expect major problems

(Everything2000) Microsoft is throwing a party with families invited this New Year's Eve to prove they are ready for whatever comes their way when the clock hits midnight and the year 2000 rolls in. The software giant has spent two years getting ready for the computer Y2K bug and feel the company is prepared and consumers should have few problems.

Microsoft began working on potential Y2K problems in 1997. They have upgraded products and offered free downloads to customers so their software would work on their computers when the year 2000 comes around. Microsoft says its products are ready. Everything from Windows 98 and Office 2000, to old products that aren't even in production anymore have been upgraded or fixed in some way. The Y2K problem stems from fears older computers programmed to read just the last two digits of a year will read ``00'' as ``1900'' rather than ``2000.''

``In a way, I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it,'' Don Jones, head of the company's Y2K efforts told the Associated Press. ``I think we're excited to see all of our work pay off.'' ``We discovered that Microsoft Word 5.0 for DOS, which shipped in 1983, is not compliant,'' Jones said. ``We actually had a few people still using it, so we shipped them Word 5.5, which is compliant. We had to scrounge around for the 5 1/4 -inch floppies to copy it on, but we got it out to them.''

On New Year's Day Microsoft President Steve Ballmer will begin his morning early. First thing New Year's Eve morning Ballmer will call Microsoft's Asian offices to get an indication of how Microsoft products, and the world, is handling the rollover to the year 2000. Then at midnight local time, if all goes well, Ballmer will be presiding over a party for some 300 of the software giant's employees and their families, while 6,000 operators remain on standby to take tech support calls.

Microsoft has taken quite a few precautions. In addition to offering Y2K downloads from its web site the company has also distributed 10 million free Y2K CD-ROMs in cooperation with Blockbuster video stores. Microsoft also created a special hot line for Y2K issues; 1-888-MSFT-Y2K. Since mid-December the Y2K hotline has taken 65,000 calls a week. However, on its regular tech support line, only a minimal number of calls have been Y2K related.

On New Year's eve many Microsoft employees will be celebrating at work, so they can troubleshoot any unforeseen problems. Those who chose to work on the holiday will be able to bring their fami