After insisting last year that it would not release a version of Windows client before Longhorn, Microsoft is now considering such a plan.
Company officials acknowledged on Thursday that the company is considering some kind of an interim Windows release that would follow Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).
SP2 is due out by mid-2004, Microsoft officials said. Longhorn isnt due until 2006 at the earliest.
"We are looking at different ways to deliver improvements on Windows XP," said Greg Sullivan, lead product manager for Windows client. "We are not working on an interim release of Windows before Longhorn, but it is one of the options on the table, along with out-of-band releases, service packs and updates."
The range of different options for delivering Windows features, post Windows XP SP2, is code-named "Windows XP Reloaded," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said Microsoft would not have any update on its plans for refreshing Windows until after SP2 ships.
One developer close to Microsoft, who requested anonymity, said that Microsoft is considering an interim update because Longhorn has officially slipped until 2007. Sullivan would not comment on the Longhorn ship date.
Sullivan maintained that the fact Microsoft is considering an interim update is nothing new. However, in May last year, Microsoft execs said there absolutely would be no interim Windows release between XP and Longhorn.
Will Poole, senior vice-president of the Windows Client Division, said at the companys annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference that there will be no interim Windows desktop client OS release before Longhorn ships, as a number of developers had claimed.
Read Pooles Lips: No New Windows Before Longhorn
Such an interim release, nicknamed by some inside and outside of the company as "Shorthorn," was to be a modified version of Windows designed to provide customers with fixes and features that would tide them over until Longhorn debuted.
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