A Win32s tale



  • The WTF post here http://thedailywtf.com/forums/thread/74323.aspx reminded me of a little story......

    I'm sure a few of you remember Windows 3.1, possibly some of you even had the unfortunate task of programming for it... like myself.

    The small company I worked for at the time had a number of good clients in the London Insurance market. The task put before us was to write a reinsurance analysis tool, which in essence read two Access databases, one of which was 'metadata' aka business rules and the other the actual data. From there it spewed out what can only be described as a results 'list', from which many weird and wonderful 'drill down' options were available.

    The UI was quite a challenge at the time, one of the reasons we choose to program the thing in 'C'. Apart from the fact we had a number of able C programmers, not so many Visual Basic 3 programmers.

    Being forward thinking, we decided to take the route of developing it for the Win32s subsystem on Windows 3.1. NT was up and coming at that time, and Windows 95 was just around the corner.

    We successfully delivered a working stable product for the sales and marketing guys to sell, we already had one client 'in the bag'. Unfortunately the marketing guys weren't happy, they wanted an NT version.

    We explained how we had designed the product to work on Win32s and that the same product would work on NT. In fact we'd even devised the setup program so that it installed on either. Our arguments fell on deaf ears, how could they tell it was an NT version?!!??

    A cunning plan was hatched.... we devised a dynamic splash screen that proudly announced.... "Designed for Windows 3.1", "Designed for Windows 95" or "Designed for Windows NT" as appropriate. Marketing was happy :)

    But.... that's not the end of the story. This product's licence cost was £10,000 (um... more than $10000) a pop. I know of at least one client that 'upgraded' to the NT version from Windows 3.1, paying a full new licence fee. Of course the upgrade process required a new floppy disk label, maybe that justified the cost? Now I understood the drive from Marketing :O



  • Oi, more and more I realize how much I hate marketing!



  • Very nice!  Did you actually mail them the whole floppy disk, or did you just send them a new label?

    (I would love to have seen their faces when they opened the package and read the instructions.)



  • @marvin_rabbit said:

    Very nice!  Did you actually mail them the whole floppy disk, or did you just send them a new label?

    (I would love to have seen their faces when they opened the package and read the instructions.)

    I suppose it could have been worse - the marketing guys could have snapped a picture of the disk with new label, scanned it in, printed a copy, put it on a wooden table, ...



  • No they couldn't... They'd have to charge more for that one... It's so much more enterprise.


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