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XP prices leak, released, as Bill and Jim polish choppers

RTM celebration to last a whole 15 minutes...

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The distribution channels have clearly been primed with Windows XP dates and prices for weeks, but on strict orders from Microsoft they've had to pretend they know nothing until Bill & Co have done the grand unveiling. They've also clearly had their web sites ready to roll for weeks, even months, because the darn details keep 'escaping.'

So hello again Amazon, which blurted out 'preorder' pricing for XP back in July, and then did it again yesterday. The prices (swiftly pulled again) were $199 for upgrade to XP Pro and $299 for the full version. A big hello to Bogdan Palos of Bucharest, Romania for tipping us off to this; it's been all over the place anyway, but it's the thought that counts.

The ludicrous redundancy of the whole thing was made clear a few hours after Amazon pulled them again, because the Redmond marketing morlocks, in the early hours of the morning Seattle time, promptly posted the script for today's grisly proceedings, complete with pricing.

It's beyond us how they're going to get all of these stiffs to say how excited they are by Windows XP in the time available, unless they all talk at the same time, but for the record what's going to happen is here.

For those of a sensitive disposition who don't want to look, the US prices are $99/$199 for upgrade and full versions of XP Home respectively, and $199/$299 for XP Pro. These products are virtually identical - $100 doesn't buy you a lot these days.

The rlelease already being out, WinXP must surely RTM today, and is probably already signed off. The big send-off will commence 8am Pacific Time at Microsoft's Redmond campus, where Bill and Jim will do stupid things with their choppers, as previously detailed.

Bill and Jim will also be presenting commerative edition RTM XPs in "six gold ZERO Halliburton P5 attaché cases" to representatives of six "major PC manufacturers." These will be the ringwraiths, if we get the meaning correctly.

The advance notice for the media event indicates hours of fun for luckless US hacks who show up. Not.

You check in at 8am, from 8.45-9am there'll be a "Microsoft Windows XP celebration event" (not a lot of staying power in Bill and Jim's choppers, clearly), and then they tell you: "All members of the press will be escorted off campus immediately following the event." Twice, just to make sure you got the message.

But our spies in Redmond will no doubt update us on the wild scenes of debauchery that ensue once the media have vamoosed. Please, let it not involve another one of those Steve Ballmer video clips (come to think of it, maybe that's where they got the helicopter idea...). ®

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