Windows XP SP3 Pushed to 2008

Microsoft has further delayed the release of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, moving expected availability from the second half of 2007 to the first half of 2008. The change came silently in an update to the company's service pack roadmap.

Although that date is still listed as "preliminary" a similar delay for Windows Server 2003 SP2 seems to be finalized. Initially planned for the end of this year and currently in beta testing, SP2 will now arrive in the first quarter of 2007.

Windows XP SP3 will be the first major upgrade to the operating system since XP SP2 debuted in August 2004. SP2 was an extensive upgrade, bringing a new security center and improvements in wireless networking and Internet Explorer. However, with SP3 arriving three years later, the update will focus security patches and bug fixes rather than feature enhancements.

"It was reported almost one year ago that Steve said SP3 'might' ship before Windows Vista; however, since that time the focus has been and continues to be shipping Windows Vista," Windows product manager Jed Rose told BetaNews in January.

Some pundits may see the delay as a way to push customers to upgrade to Windows Vista, which is slated to reach store shelves early next year. However, many of the changes SP3 will bring to Windows XP will likely have been already made available as individual security patches.

For now, Microsoft is expending all of its effort in getting Windows Vista out the door. Release to manufacturing is now expected in early November, and no more builds will be made available to beta testers.

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