An earlier report said the company was counting on a release of the final code for Windows XP in late July or early August this year. However, Microsoft described the "window of delivery" as "tight" to PC manufacturers in the US, saying that the launch could be pushed back to 2002.
In an email response, Singapore-based Microsoft product manager for Desktop Operating Systems and Business Tools Danny Ong said: "Our target delivery dates have been unchanged for the past year, and we will continue to be on target for delivering Windows XP during the second half of this year in Asia Pacific."
However, he could not provide a specific date for the launch.
According to Ong, there are 800 Windows XP beta2 users in Singapore. He did not provide figures for the whole of Asia.
In Australia, approximately 4,500 organizations will test the product this month, according to Microsoft senior product marketing manager for desktop windows Paul Roworth.
The date that Microsoft releases the final code to Windows XP is crucial for PC manufacturers, which typically take anywhere from four to eight weeks getting the software onto new computers. The later the delivery date, the more likely computer makers--and retailers selling shrink-wrapped copies of Windows XP--will miss the lucrative holiday sales period.
Windows XP initially will ship in two versions: consumer and professional. Given how revolutionary the consumer upgrade is from earlier incarnations, "even early August doesn't give us much time for the holidays," one US PC maker told ZDNet. "Any later, and it's game over."
The issue is testing because computer manufacturers must certify the shipping version of Windows XP for a variety of PC configurations. The more lead time, the less likely PC customers will encounter troubles with the operating system later on.