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Windows XP SP1 Coming Within 10 Days

The first service pack for Windows XP will be distributed within 10 days, the financial news agency Bloomberg reported.

Microsoft discussed its plans with financial reporters on Tuesday in the context of its antitrust agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Changes were made to Windows XP with Service Pack 1 that bring the client operating system into compliance with a clause of the antitrust agreement.

After the service pack is applied, users will be able to hide elements of Microsoft "middleware" from program menus and desktops. The middleware that falls under the clause includes Internet Explorer, the foundation of the original antitrust case; Windows Media Player; Windows Messenger; Outlook Express; and the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine.

Starting with Windows XP SP1, computer makers will be able to pick and choose whether to install Microsoft middleware or competitive offerings, such as the AOL-Netscape Navigator browser, RealNetwork's media player and Sun's JVM. Similar changes were introduced for Windows 2000 Professional in Service Pack 3, which Microsoft made available to all of its customers at the beginning of August. Windows XP shipped in October, while Microsoft and the government reached a settlement in November.

A release within 10 days fits with comments Microsoft officials made earlier this month.

"Late in August or September, Windows XP SP1 will be released," Microsoft senior vice president and general counsel Brad Smith said earlier this month at a news conference about the antitrust settlement.

Wednesday represented the earliest that Microsoft could have released the service pack. The company first had to publish relevant Application Programming Interfaces, and those were scheduled to go up on the Microsoft Developer Network on Wednesday. Microsoft is obligated under the settlement agreement to meet a November deadline for including the changes, which Microsoft interpreted as merely hiding -- instead of removing -- the middleware.

Part of the antitrust agreement holds that Microsoft must meet the deadlines even if the settlement has not been approved. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is still considering whether or not to approve the settlement.

About the Author

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

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