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TECHNOLOGY : TouchStone Surprised by Microsoft's Plans to Update DOS 6.0

August 31, 1993|Dean Takahashi / Times staff writer

TouchStone Software Corp. in Huntington Beach was surprised to learn last week of plans for an updated edition of Microsoft Corp.'s MS-DOS 6.0 operating system.

Shannon Jenkins, chief executive of TouchStone, said she met a wall of denial from Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft in June when she raised questions about the possibility of losing data when using the DOS 6.0 DoubleSpace feature, which doubles the amount of permanent memory available on a personal computer.

TouchStone offered to make available for free its own solution--a program that scans a hard disk for errors and a procedure to ensure safe use of DoubleSpace--and issued an advisory about problems that could result in data loss.

At the time, Microsoft officials denied that there were any "bugs" in the popular operating system. Instead, managers Tony Audino and Brad Chase accused Jenkins of trying to exaggerate the problems of the DOS 6.0 DoubleSpace feature so that her company could sell its diagnostic software.

Jenkins countered that TouchStone was simply concerned about addressing the complaints of users, who had left many messages on the subject on the CompuServe bulletin board network.

Microsoft's DOS 6.2 upgrade, due for release this fall, will fix data-loss problems associated with the DoubleSpace feature, including those TouchStone flagged when it issued its advisory in June.

However, Audino, director of DOS marketing, says the company is not saying it is fixing a major bug. Rather, he said, the upgrade will offer new features and address concerns expressed by customers.

Audino said the new features will include a disk scan utility, which will test a disk to fix any errors before DoubleSpace is installed.

"To say that we did this in response to TouchStone would be inaccurate," he said. "Are we fixing anything? Absolutely. Every company has to respond to its customers. But it's inaccurate to say it's a major bug."

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