Microsoft Corp has confirmed it is working on an updated Windows client operating system, re-thinking a jump straight to Longhorn.
Redmond planners are hatching a project codenamed XP Reloaded that updates Windows XP but which Microsoft is shying away from calling an interim product.
Microsoft has, though, until now, promised Longhorn would be the company’s next client to follow Windows XP, which was launched in October 2001.
Greg Sullivan, lead product manager for Windows client, told ComputerWire: We are looking past [Windows XP] Service Pack 2, at what are the important initiatives and changes we can begin to make given Longhorn is some way away.
He added: It depends on how you define ‘interim release’.
Longhorn’s availability is shrouded in mystery. Having initially talked-up a release during the 2005 timeframe, Microsoft is now refusing to give a date, while analysts have predicted a launch in either 2006 or 2007.
If true, that would leave Microsoft with a gap of at least five years between new desktop operating system products.
The gap would impact Microsoft’s revenue stream. The period between Windows 2000 desktop and Windows XP was just a year and eight months, while Windows 95 and Windows 98 saw a three-year lag, producing a fairly regular upgrade cycle.
Such a huge gap would also complicate support. Security updates and innovations would only be applied through ad-hoc patches or updates, instead of being bundled into a brand-new platform.
Sullivan called Windows XP a strong and viable platform but one that even today, thanks to the release of various updates during the interim, is different to what it was in October 2001.
XP Reloaded will be based on the version of Windows XP after the launch of Windows XP’s Service Pack (SP) 2 in the middle of 2004. Other XP Reloaded features will be clearer after Longhorn’s first beta, in the second half of this year, Sullivan said.
He denied Longhorn would be delayed by XP Reloaded. This is not taking development resources away from Longhorn, Sullivan said.
This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire