Microsoft sets Windows XP launch date

The next version of the Windows desktop operating system will ship on 25 October, but server versions could still face delays

Microsoft has scotched recent rumours that its new consumer operating system Windows XP would be delayed until next year, announcing today that the software will be released on 25 October.

Analysts recently suggested that Microsoft might miss this target launch window for the final version of XP code because of delays in the beta testing process.

Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional Edition will be released in October, but Microsoft has yet to put an end to speculation that Windows 2002, the server counterpart to XP, based on the same "Whistler" code, might not arrive until next year.

Windows XP will be the first Microsoft operating system to use an anti-copying technology called Windows Product Activation (WPA). WPA has received intense criticism from consumers, businesses and the industry since it first came to light earlier this year.

WPA will control how many times users can reinstall the operating system by using an artificial intelligence engine, similar to those used to monitor credit card transactions, meaning that some PCs will not work when switched back on after an upgrade.

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