May 11, 2004 8:04 AM PDT

Microsoft readies XP update giveaway

LONDON--Microsoft says it will give away Service Pack 2 for Windows XP but is remaining coy about the exact nature of "XP Reloaded."

At a reviewers' workshop here Monday, Microsoft revealed more information about its plans for Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), which is currently available for download as a 200MB Release Candidate 1.

By the time the software becomes more formally available later in the summer, it will have slimmed down to around 80MB, and the company plans to make it available at no charge on CD in stores. It will also be obtainable by mail, although the company has yet to decide whether to pay for packing and postage. Microsoft says that "smart downloading" techniques will minimize the time spent online for those using dial-up services to obtain the upgrade.

SP2 will be labeled on the box as having "advanced security technologies," highlighting its set of updates to the firewall, antivirus and network protection mechanisms of the Windows operating system. Although Microsoft says that some of these changes will cause problems with around one in 10 existing applications, the company is not planning a certification program and is not maintaining a public list of troublesome software. Tablet PCs are also being addressed by SP2's inclusion of Lonestar--more formally known as XP Tablet PC Edition 2005--which adds more stylus input options and Office integration.

Microsoft was reticent when questioned about XP Reloaded, a major marketing campaign due to run in the second half of the year. The company has previously said that the campaign is intended to rejuvenate consumer excitement about XP. Speculation has centered on the unreleased Media Player 10 and possible inclusion of online-music-store integration, together with iTunes-like links with portable music devices.

The company declined to comment beyond saying that it will release more details in a couple of weeks.

Rupert Goodwins reports for London-based ZDNet UK.

4 comments

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Fix = Giveaway
Since when did fixing something that was broken from its inception become a giveaway? In the auto industry it is called a "recall".

"Pinto to offer 'giveaway' gas tanks that don't explode and burn occutpants alive"
Posted by USDecliningDollar (243 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fix = Giveaway
Since when did fixing something that was broken from its inception become a giveaway? In the auto industry it is called a "recall".

"Pinto to offer 'giveaway' gas tanks that don't explode and burn occutpants alive"
Posted by USDecliningDollar (243 comments )
Reply Link Flag
speculation is misguided.
Windows Media Player already has links to digital music devices. It always has. It also in Windows Media Player 9 introduced an online services feature which allows direct access to music and movie stores from a variety of different vendors including Music Now, Napster etc. Napster is however better run as a standalone application, though you can install both the version inside Windows Media Player, and the version that runs as a stand-a-lone application.

As a music store, it is not better than iTunes, although it does have one innovative re-download feature that Apple does not.

If you are looking for a subscription service with tethered content though, Napster is the one to beat.
Posted by smkatz (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
speculation is misguided.
Windows Media Player already has links to digital music devices. It always has. It also in Windows Media Player 9 introduced an online services feature which allows direct access to music and movie stores from a variety of different vendors including Music Now, Napster etc. Napster is however better run as a standalone application, though you can install both the version inside Windows Media Player, and the version that runs as a stand-a-lone application.

As a music store, it is not better than iTunes, although it does have one innovative re-download feature that Apple does not.

If you are looking for a subscription service with tethered content though, Napster is the one to beat.
Posted by smkatz (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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