Windows XP RC2 Hits the Web

Microsoft Corp. kept rolling toward its promised Oct. 25 delivery date for Windows XP with the availability this week of the second release candidate for the next-generation client operating system.

Microsoft pushed Windows XP RC2 out the door despite efforts in the courts and before government agencies aimed at derailing XP.

Windows XP is Microsoft's long-promised merged kernel of the more stable Windows NT/2000 business operating system and the consumer-oriented Windows 9.x/Me line. Microsoft plans to release Windows XP in a Home Edition, a Professional edition and a 64-bit Professional edition.

The way Microsoft implemented the integration of several features, including the Windows Media Player, Instant Messenger, Passport and photo imaging software, have angered several competitors, privacy groups and public officials.

Consequently, Microsoft faces potential obstacles to the Oct. 25 release in the form of U.S. Senate hearings on desktop competition, the Department of Justice appeals in the antitrust case, and a possible bureaucratic process before the Federal Trade Commission.

So far, Microsoft has made two concessions in the face of severe industry, customer and government pressure. The company pulled Smart Tags from Windows XP before RC1 in early July. Microsoft also agreed to let OEMs customize Windows XP in the systems they ship.

Customers who registered earliest for the Windows XP Preview Program were to begin getting access to the RC2 download on the Conxion site Tuesday. Customers who registered later were to get access to the download server later in the week. RC2 will not be available via CD.

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About the Author

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