Windows XP Unbound

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2004-03-15 Print this article Print

As a handle for an intermediate Windows release, Microsofts been tossing around the code name XP Reloaded; the press, meanwhile, has dubbed it "Shorthorn."

Read "Windows XP Reloaded: The Mystery Deepens."
What Id like to see is a Windows XP "Unbound."

First, its important that Microsoft unbind the distribution of new feature additions from that of security fixes to give its corporate customers the stability (and home users the new features) they demand and deserve.

Second, Microsoft needs to drop its ridiculous insistence that complementary applications such as Internet Explorer and Media Player are integral parts of the operating system that must be upgraded via service pack or new operating system release. This strategy is disingenuous and has Microsoft mired in antitrust troubles in Europe over Media Player bundling. It also has needlessly slowed the progress of these applications and has made it tougher for Microsoft to highlight their benefits properly. With the rapid improvements that weve seen in media players and Web browsers from Apple and from the free-software community, can Microsoft really afford to continue constraining itself in this way?

Of course, Microsoft can handle the period between now and Longhorn pretty much any way it chooses and still survive. The companys grip on the market is much too tight for any set of miscues to significantly upset its control.

With that said, Microsoft does face real competition on the desktop for the first time in a long time. Between a resurgent Apple and a fast-moving group of free-software projects backed by the money and market clout of major IT vendors such as Novell and Sun, now is the wrong time for Microsoft to lose sight of its customers needs.

Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at

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As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at

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