Windows XP SP3 indicates Microsoft will continue to focus on security.
Some three and half years from the general release of Windows XP Service Pack 2, and with the support of corporate IT managers waning, Microsoft is preparing to release an update to its seven year-old desktop operating system. However, Microsoft has said that Service Pack 3 will once again focus on security, and so those expecting to see features from Windows Vista will be sorely disappointed. Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system, and is designed to improve overall system performance and stability.
One issue worth considering is the supposed shelf-life of Windows XP. With System Builder licenses available only until the end of January 2009 (June 2008 for the retail channel), and with demand for Windows Vista in the enterprise extremely weak, Microsoft is coming under increasing pressure to re-think its Windows lifecycle policy. Indeed, InfoWorld is asking users to register their objections to this forced migration by signing its ‘Help Save XP’ petition.
We spoke of this in an earlier report and the site is still getting plenty of action. InfoWorld, a popular website for IT professionals, has the following to say on the matter: “Microsoft plans to end most sales of Windows XP on June 30, despite a deep reluctance by many business and individuals about moving to Vista .InfoWorld believes such an expensive, time-consuming shift with problematic benefits should not be forced on Windows users, so we have decided to rally XP users to demand that XP be kept available.” With Windows Vista a year in the market and Windows XP a year or so away from its supposed retirement, Microsoft is in danger of letting its Windows lifecycle policy get out of sync with reality. In the meantime, however, Windows XP SP3 provides Microsoft with yet another opportunity to address real and significant security concerns, and so the company would do well to promote Windows XP SP3 over Windows Vista SP1. However, whether or not the company will adopt this policy remains to be seen.
In related news: Microsoft is lowering the price of consumer versions of Windows Vista. Microsoft’s plans to lower prices on consumer versions of Windows Vista are a clear indication that Vista has not had the expected uptake in the home market. While the company is keen to point out that retail sales are only a small part of total Windows-based revenue, there has always been a correlation between home and business users, which suggests business uptake is similarly disappointing.