Microsoft Corp. on Thursday released the first beta of Service Pack 1 for its Windows XP operating system.
While the service pack includes all the security fixes, application compatibility updates and updated drivers released since the launch of the product last October, it also includes elements that comply with the changes required by the consent decree between Microsoft, the Department of Justice and the nine settling states.
Those elements include changes that allow both computer manufacturers and users to hide Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Windows Messenger and Outlook Express.
But while Microsoft believes these moves address some of the requirements of the consent decree with the Department of Justice, which is still being considered by Washington D.C. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, they are unlikely to satisfy the nine states, along with the District of Columbia, that have refused to sign off on the proposed antitrust settlement.
They believe Microsoft should be forced to offer a modular version of the Windows operating system in addition to the fully integrated version of the product.
More than 10,000 beta testers will be able to download the SP1 beta today and, when the final version is released late this summer, Microsoft will encourage customers to apply the service pack to current Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional machines, a spokesman said.