A Microsoft Australia spokesperson told ZDNet Australia this afternoon the company's Australian operation had "prematurely" issued the statement and while XP SP2 would be available shortly, "it had not been released to manufacturing as indicated by Microsoft Australia on Wednesday".
The spokesperson added that Microsoft was working "flat out" to get the long-awaited release through to manufacturing, but refused to clarify whether "shortly" meant it was days or weeks away. The release is key to Microsoft's efforts to enhance the security of its products, with the software heavyweight describing it in the prematurely released statement as including advanced security technologies to protect computers from hackers, viruses and other ... attacks".
In the pre-released statement, Microsoft said it would localise the software into 25 different languages over the next two months, and distribute it to computer manufacturers, enterprise customers and consumers through downloads, retail distribution, free CDs and on new PCs.
"SP2 is a significant step in delivering on our goal to make customers' PCs more resilient in the face of increasingly sophisticated attacks," said Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates.
"It is also the product of sustained investments in innovation, extensive industry collaboration, and a broad recognition that as the security environment changes, the industry needs to work together to respond."
Beginning August 26, Australian customers can place an order for an SP2 disc from the Microsoft Web site free of charge. Microsoft Australia will also be providing SP2 CDs in retail stores while MSDN customers will receive SP2 in the September distribution.
Microsoft is also working with computer manufacturers and local system builders to ensure they are able to make PCs preloaded with SP2 available as soon as possible.
Australian customers will be able to download SP2 from August 26. Customers with automatic update enabled will receive the latest security updates for Windows XP, followed by and along with updated installation software that will optimise the download experience of SP2 and all future updates to Windows XP.
Gates said the updates and enhancements in SP2 focus on stronger security settings and increased manageability and control.
Microsoft has hosted more than 1 million downloads of test versions of SP2 through its Technical Preview, Technical Beta and MSDN programs and has tested applications and devices for compatibility with SP2.