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WinInfo Daily UPDATE, October 21, 2004

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In the News

Microsoft: 106 Million Windows XP Users Have Updated to SP2
- Ballmer Says Longhorn Wave is Coming

==== In the News ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft: 106 Million Windows XP Users Have Updated to SP2

Just 2 months after issuing Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Microsoft has distributed more than 106 million copies of the service pack to customers worldwide. The company told me that it distributed more than 90 million of those copies electronically via Automatic Updates, an amazing success story for a technology that paranoid users who were worried about Microsoft having remote access to their PCs previously scorned. Emulated in other OSs such as Mac OS X and Linux, Automatic Updates is the engine that Microsoft uses to keep its customers up-to-date.
"One hundred six million SP2 distributions around world certainly indicates an incredible demand for this release and the security benefits it delivers," a Microsoft representative told me yesterday, noting that the company distributed 16 million copies on CD-ROM. "Security and combating the dangers that threaten everyone on the Internet is an ongoing challenge that Microsoft will continue to meet. Customers need to do their part as well. They should download XP SP2 as soon as possible. \[People who aren't\] running XP can protect themselves by following Microsoft's Protect Your PC guidance: Use an Internet firewall, get regular software updates, \[and\] use and keep up-to-date an antivirus software solution."
XP SP2 dramatically improves XP's baseline security and resilience capabilities and includes several obvious changes, including the Windows Firewall, Security Center, and Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) pop-up blocking features. For more information about XP SP2, refer to my exhaustive review on the SuperSite for Windows.

Ballmer Says Longhorn Wave Is Coming

This year has been a quiet one for Longhorn, the next version of Windows, although that situation is going to change, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Interviewed by Gartner analysts this week during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2004 conference in Orlando, Florida, Ballmer said that the Longhorn wave of products--which will include new versions of Microsoft Office, Windows, and Windows Server, among other products--is finally on track.
Ballmer touched on one of the more controversial Longhorn topics--the recently delayed WinFS storage engine--and noted that progress is being made, "just not good enough for the 2006 \[Longhorn client\] delivery." Instead, WinFS will ship as a free Longhorn add-on a year later, when Longhorn Server ships.
Ballmer also touched on matters such as security, the future of Office, and the fact that Linux has yet to make any real inroads in the PC desktop market. But what Ballmer didn't deliver was a definitive product-delivery timeline. That's where WinInfo Daily UPDATE fills the gap.
According to recent internal schedules I've seen, Longhorn and Office 12 are set to arrive concurrently on May 22, 2006. And the first Longhorn beta is set for February 16, 2005--the same beta 1 date I first reported in April. Naturally, this schedule could change--we're talking about Microsoft, after all--but the massive Microsoft infrastructure finally seems to be rumbling to life. For beta testers and Windows enthusiasts, 2005 looks to be a busy year.

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