Beta Testers to Receive XP in December

While Windows XP has enjoyed retail sales slightly under that of Windows 98, beta testers who contributed to the overall success of the product have yet to receive their own complimentary copies. Communication ceased following XP's release to manufacturing when the closure of newsgroup discussion boards left testers in the dark. BetaNews was told that Windows XP test sites will be notified of the delay, and given an approximate ship date – although testers have indicated that no such announcement has been made to date.

According to Microsoft, sales are exceeding the initial sales of Windows 95 and Windows Millennium Edition. NPD Intelect reported that retailers surveyed during the first week of sales did not expect to see a recurrence of Windows 98's success. At the Windows XP launch event, Microsoft's Jim Allchin indicated that this success was due in part to the company's pool of beta testers while thanking them for their hard work.

However, many testers wonder if those feelings are not reciprocated throughout Microsoft as a whole, complaining of a communication blackout. James R. Durdan, an external tester for Windows XP told BetaNews, "We are approaching 1 month since product role out and as far as I can tell none of the Beta Testers have received their complimentary copy of XP. The Windows Beta site has been closed and none of the messages I have sent to MS have produced any sort of answer."

Windows 2000 testers endured a similar experience where participants were left unsure whether or not they would receive the promised compensation for their efforts.

In response to inquiries, Mark Croft, a product manager for Windows XP, issued the following statement, "Many testers qualified to receive a complimentary boxed product of Windows XP. The shipments to qualified beta sites have been delayed due to the high demand of Windows XP in the retail sector. We have been assured by manufacturing that the Windows XP Professional and home shipments should begin by early December. You should receive your free boxed product by the end of December. We apologize for the delay and hope that you will enjoy your complimentary boxed product when it arrives."

Microsoft claims that it will soon begin the task of contacting testers which number in the tens of thousands.

Windows XP was released to manufacturing on August 24, and was officially launched through a broad range of channels on October 25. Testers received 120 day evaluative copies shortly after the OS went gold.

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