The Windows community already is assuming Microsoft will opt for an interim Windows release, even though Redmond said the decision is still up in the air.
Microsoft claims the idea of an interim Windows release between Windows XP and Longhorn is just that: An idea. Nonetheless, such a release already has developers and users tongues wagging.
Click here to read more about Microsofts plans for an interim release of Windows.
"Longhorn is looking more like a 2007 release," said one developer with tight Microsoft ties, who requested anonymity.
The developer said that the interim release is more than just a what-if. He said it is the resurrection of "Shorthorn," the Windows release that Microsoft was planning a couple of years ago as a stop-gap between XP and Longhorn.
"Shorthorn equals XP plus (XP) service pack 2, plus maybe the new WMP [Windows Media Player] with [Apple Computer Inc.s] iTunes-inspired features," he said.
"MSN and others want to compete with iTunes, and for that they need the new WMP that Microsoft is working on that can be rebranded and do all kinds of other things. It wont be ready until June. But Microsoft cant wait until 2006/2007 to get that out there," the developer said.
Steven Bink, a Windows 2000 and Windows XP Microsoft certified systems engineer and Most Valuable Professional based in Amsterdam, had plenty to say about an interim Windows update.
"I think it is great news and about time," said Bink, who also runs the Bink.nu Windows enthusiast Web site.
"This is great for OEM PC resellers, who [would be able to] easily deploy new systems without installing all the patches, DX9 [DirectX 9] and WMP9 [Windows Media Player 9]," Bink said. "I always wondered why Microsoft would not release an OEM Service Release or a Second Edition of XP."
To read the full Microsoft Watch story, click here.