RC1 for Windows XP Coming Within 10 Days

The first release candidate for Windows XP is coming within 10 days, Microsoft Corp. president and chief operating officer Rick Belluzzo said this week.

Indirectly, Belluzzo also warned the industry to brace for a flood of hype. Belluzzo said Microsoft, Intel Corp. and other launch partners will spend $1 billion to promote Windows XP surrounding its Oct. 25 launch. Intel's part will focus on moving Pentium 4 PCs.

"Never before have we seen ... such strong enthusiasm or investment in the launch of a Microsoft product," Belluzzo told 600 attendees at Microsoft's Partner Marketing Day in Las Vegas Tuesday. The statement follows Microsoft's recent vows that the Windows XP launch will be bigger than Windows 95, an assertion that is less earth-shattering than it may sound.

With the Windows XP product, Microsoft is combining the code bases for Windows NT Workstation/Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 9.x/Me. That makes the introduction a combined consumer and business launch rather than just one or the other. In addition, the installed base of Windows 9.x users is massive compared with the installed base of Windows 3.x users who were waiting to convert when Windows 95 debuted.

Windows XP will come in three flavors: Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional and 64-bit Windows XP Professional.

Servers will launch separately, probably in early 2002. Microsoft announced last week at TechEd that the server products will now be called Windows .NET Servers.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.