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WHO'S LOVING WINDOWS 95 MOST?

Everybody loves a party, and Microsoft is throwing one - a launching party for what the company says is the biggest innovation in home computers since, well, the home computer.

Bill Gates, who produced Windows 95 and is just about the proudest papa around, says his creation is designed for ordinary people - ordinary people who use computers.The hoopla Gates has initiated as Windows 95 hit stores Thursday had much the same buildup - including suspense, drama and entertainment value - as Michael Jordan's return to basketball. And, like Jordan's return, the arrival of Windows 95 may have a tough time living up to the reputation that's preceded it.

After getting some free pizza at the local computer store and toting home the prize, some "ordinary" home-computer users could find actually using Windows 95 about as much fun as watching Michael Jordan miss a lot of shots in his big comeback game. Well, maybe not that much fun.

Windows 95 isn't a new computer game. It isn't something that's going to provide immediate entertainment or solve any of life's mysteries. It's an operating system, the program that lets your computer's "brain" interact with all the programs you are trying to use.

And a new operating program tends to make both the old version and previous application programs obsolete.

For the many "ordinary" home-computer users out there who normally use their PCs to write letters and maybe help balance the checkbook, Windows 95 may be a bad case of overkill. And it may not even work very well unless that same PC user is willing to go out and buy a faster, smarter computer or upgrade the one he has.

And, some skeptics might suggest, that's exactly what all the excitement is really about. Maybe, just maybe, it's more about the euphoria of computer-company owners who are waiting to sell users of less-than-brand-new machines up to $1,000 in hardware improvements per computer to change to Windows 95.

An editor of a computer magazine said it's about software makers who are busy writing new products that work with Windows 95.

"What they want is to sell all their software all over again."

Now that's reason for a party.