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WinXP to be best, fastest selling OS in history – by order

MS nails colours to mast - there's no going back...

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Microsoft platforms group VP Jim Allchin is set to announce the release day for Windows XP at 8.30am PDT today, and it'll be Thursday October 25th, rather than the Friday, as we said yesterday. Still, close... Jim's alarm probably only just gone off, but already Der Tag is up on the MS WinXP site, and the droids have been emailing us press releases expressing the usual widespread industry support and rallying around.

This makes it crystal-clear that XP is intended to be available at retail and on new PCs by that date, and furthermore that it's going to be perfect. "Mark your calendars now: The release of Windows XP on October 25th is going to be a historic day for our customers and for the industry," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. "Windows XP will be the highest-quality Microsoft operating system ever, and Microsoft and our associates are committed to delivering a set of amazing new computing experiences that will set a new paradigm for PC users around the world."

All this and hitting the RC and RTM milestones too! This is going to be a tricky one, and the next couple of months are going to be seriously stressful for Redmond coders.

And here goes with some more hostages to fortune: "Windows XP will be the biggest Windows marketing event in Microsoft history-- doubling the investment of the Windows 95 launch in the first four months of product availability alone. This incredible marketing push by Microsoft and industry partners is expected to unleash tremendous demand for the experiences that Windows XP enables. 'IDC expects that Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional will see more new license shipments by the end of 2002 than any other new Microsoft operating system has had in its first full year of availability,' said Al Gillen, analyst at IDC. 'This will make it the fastest-adopted version of Windows to date.'"

Vastly more marketing spend than Win95, and uptake targets so ambitious that they surely must require a very fast switchover by the hardware manufacturers from Win98/ME and Win2k to WinXP in order to be achieved.* Note that Mr Gillen in rentaquote mode is likely just repeating what Microsoft told him, and that the machine is going into overdrive to achieve the big bang, 100 per cent successful launch.

Inescapably, this means that any plans to kick the launch back into 2002 are now definitely off. And if something bad enough to screw up the rollout happens, then assuredly somebody will pay. ®

* Actually, if you think about the numbers and the size of the hill to be climbed, IDC's prediction is a lot less bullish than it sounds initially. Up until the end of 2002 from the end of October 2001 is 14 months, so IDC is apparently giving WinXP extra time to outperform the previous best-seller sales in its first year.

This surely can't be what they meant to say, could it?

Related stories:
WinXP to launch on October 26: coders go on war footing

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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