If Microsoft officials don't want you to know about Vista Service Pack (SP) 1, you can be darn well sure they really don't want to talk about Windows XP Service Pack (SP) 3. But customers definitely want to discuss it.
XP users who still aren't crazy about the idea of moving to Vista are quite interested in the status of the long-promised update to Windows XP. (Microsoft released the most recent XP update, XP SP2, way back in the summer of 2004.) I get queries from readers weekly about when XP SP3 will hit and what it will likely include.
There was a flap earlier this year regarding Microsoft possibly changing the due date for XP SP3. Microsoft officials have been saying for the past few months that the company would not provide the final XP SP3 until some time in the first half of 2008. In late May, however, there was a mention in a Microsoft press release that XP SP3 would ship "some time later this year." Microsoft's official response was that the 2007 date was a typo. (Yeah, that "typo" defense again.)
I also went back and looked at the "official statement" I got from Microsoft PR in late May:
“I just received additional information from the product manager responsible for SP3. While we’re still not talking specifics, he did point to the following link as an accurate timeline for our preliminary plans for SP3: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/servicepacks.mspx."
Bottom line: Microsoft never flat-out denied XP SP3 would ship this year.
OK. Conspiracy theories aside, one of my sources recently told me the client team is, indeed, aiming to get XP SP3 out this year. Preliminary target: October 2007. (Again, it's not clear if this is a target for a beta or the final.)
Granted, this information is only from one source. But remember the new mission of the Windows client team: Underpromise and overdeliver. Make people happy by seeming to ship early. Don't make them mad by having to admit you are running late. And, don't forget, Vista SP1 is running earlier than Microsoft had led many customers, partners and adversaries to believe ....
To all of you who've been clamoring for an XP SP3 update, that's all I've been able to get. Anyone else have anything to share, re: an updated XP SP3 timeline, feature set or other details?