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XP SP3 Release Rumors Continue

Rumors that Windows XP Service Pack 3 will appear this month continue to flourish.

Rumors that Windows XP Service Pack 3 will appear this month continue to flourish.

Release dates for Windows XP SP3, purportedly from Microsoft, were published today on the Neowin.net Web site. The site's news item suggests that the XP update will be released to manufacturers on April 21 and to the general public on April 29. However, Microsoft would not confirm those dates.

A Microsoft spokesperson kept to the official timeline, stating in an e-mail that "We expect Windows XP SP3 to be available in 1H 2008, provided it meets our quality bar for release."

A rumor that April would be the month of Windows XP SP3's appearance was floated late last month as well.

Buyers of some new PCs soon will not be able to get them loaded with Windows XP. Microsoft plans to stop selling XP licenses for new PCs after June 30, 2008, according to Michael Dix, Microsoft's general manager of Windows client product management.

Microsoft is phasing out its venerable and most used XP operating system in favor of the current Windows Vista OS, although the company plans to extend XP's licensing for so-called "ultra-low-cost" PCs. Computer equipment manufacturers typically load Linux or Windows XP on these ultra-low-cost PCs, which have limited hardware capabilities compared with state-of-the-art machines.

One such manufacturer is Asus, which began offering its seven-inch-wide Eee laptops with Windows XP loaded. This month, Microsoft and HCL Infosystems announced an agreement to launch "the world's lowest cost Windows OS enabled laptop," according to a press release issued by HCL Infosystems.

The laptop, part of HCL Infosystems' MiLeap series, costs $426 (17,000 India rupees), and runs on Windows XP Home Edition using a 30 GB hard disk drive, according to the press release.

Microsoft's deal with HCL Infosystems also involves the creation of a jointly developed "Centre of Excellence" to develop vertical-industry customized solutions. The center will be staffed with more than "500 software professionals" working to support specific solutions for sectors such as banking, financial services, insurance and telecommunications, among others. The two companies also plan to train 50,000 students to use Microsoft technologies to bolster the Indian IT sector.

Microsoft announced a plan back in June of 2007 to launch $500 PCs in India in collaboration with chipmaker AMD and Indian PC maker Zenith Computers Ltd. Those PCs were designed to use the most basic version of Windows Vista. However, that $500 cost was seen as being rather high at the time.

Dell had described plans back in March of last year to create low-cost desktop PCs for China's market, running on Windows XP Home Edition. Those PCs were expected to be priced in the $223 to $515 range.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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