WinInfo Daily UPDATE, February 26, 2004

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In the News
- Windows XP ... Reloaded
- Microsoft's Tokyo Office Involved in Antitrust Raid

==== In the News ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Windows XP ... Reloaded
Despite Microsoft's repeated denials, the company will indeed release an interim version of Windows XP that will bridge the gap between the initial XP release and Windows Longhorn, which is currently due in late 2005 at the earliest. The interim XP version will ship as a new retail product that replaces existing retail boxed copies of XP and as a set of updates, called XP Reloaded, that existing XP users can install separately. According to sources I contacted this morning, XP Reloaded will include all the features from XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), which is due by midyear, as well as a host of other unique features, including Windows Media Player (WMP) 10.
Other details about XP Reloaded are unknown at this time, although the update kit apparently will include a Web-based installer application that will let users choose optional features. Reports about an XP Version 2 release first cropped up more than a year ago, but Microsoft officials repeatedly denied that the company planned to issue such a release. In early 2004, when the company revealed the new security features that XP SP2 will include, the rumors resurfaced. But the XP Reloaded OS refresh will clearly include a lot more than security updates, possibly in a bid to revive consumer excitement about XP while Microsoft preps the ever-delayed Longhorn release.

Microsoft's Tokyo Office Involved in Antitrust Raid
The Japan Fair Trade Commission (FTC) raided Microsoft's Tokyo offices yesterday on suspicion of antitrust violations, according to Japanese law enforcement officials. The raid represents the second time the FTC has investigated Microsoft in recent years; in 1998, the commission warned Microsoft that the way the company bundled Microsoft Office with Windows in Japan raised antitrust concerns. The company responded by removing the bundle, and Japan dropped the warning. This time, the FTC is concerned about Windows licensing.
"The company is suspected of setting unfair conditions when giving licenses for Windows to Japanese computer makers," an FTC representative said yesterday. At issue is a clause that prevents Japanese computer makers such as Fujitsu, Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial, NEC, and Sony from suing Microsoft if they discover that the software giant is illegally using their patented technologies. "Unless Japanese companies agree to the clause, they cannot preinstall Windows in their computers," the representative noted.
Today, Microsoft confirmed the raid. "Some commission officials came to our headquarters this morning, and they are holding a meeting with our company officials," a Microsoft spokesperson said, noting that the company is looking into the reasons for the raid. Microsoft had no further comment.

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