Windows XP Reloaded muddies the SP2 waters

Summary:XP Service Pack 2 will bring some much-needed security focus to the OS, but Microsoft still seems unsure about the revenue and roadmap implications

Right now, Microsoft wants to talk about the wisdom of Windows XP users, personal and corporate, upgrading to the forthcoming Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Windows XP. The security-focused SP2 is now at Release Candidate 1 (RC1), with RC2 due at the end of May and the final version expected later in the summer.

However, at an SP2 workshop in London yesterday, the assembled journalists kept raising the inconvenient (for Microsoft) question of exactly what 'XP Reloaded' (an internal code name that Microsoft heartily wishes had never been leaked) is or is not.

The 'XP Reloaded' moniker has certainly muddied the waters in a big way. On the one hand, 'Windows XP Service Pack 2' sounds like a dull-but-worthy collection of patches, but actually isn't. In fact, SP2 is much more akin to a point release, containing a lot of new code, mostly security-related, some of which may cause compatibility problems with some applications. Microsoft will be aggressively giving it away, not only to downloaders but also through retail channels and even through the mail -- postage and packing charges to be decided.

By contrast, 'Windows XP Reloaded' sounds like an interim release, but actually isn't. At the workshop, Paul Randle, Windows client product manager in the UK, said that Microsoft will give more details on XP Reloaded 'in a couple of weeks', but stressed that 'it's not a new version of the OS'. It is, according to the company at last week's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, a marketing campaign to revitalise consumer interest in the operating system -- undoubtedly with the intention of revitalising revenue along the way. So what's the score?

Topics: Tech Industry

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Hello, I'm the Reviews Editor at ZDNet UK. My experience with computers started at London's Imperial College, where I studied Zoology and then Environmental Technology. This was sufficiently long ago (mid-1970s) that Fortran, IBM punched-card machines and mainframes were involved, followed by green-screen terminals and eventually the pers... Full Bio

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