Microsoft has published the due date for Windows XP SP3 (Service Pack 3) on its Windows Lifecycle Web site.
While Microsoft characterized the date as "preliminary," it is still as much as a year later than a number of customers, partners and industry analysts had been anticipating.
Last April, according to at least one Web report, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Microsoft was considering releasing SP3 before Longhorn (now Windows Vista) shipped.
Windows Vista is expected to ship in the second or third quarter of 2006.
Microsoft also has published "latter half of 2006" as the tentative release date for the second service pack for Windows Server 2003.
The "preliminary" due date for Windows Server 2003 SP2 (Service Pack 2) date jibes with what industry experts were expecting.
Microsoft has not made public an official list of planned fixes (and new features, if any) that will be part of either the Windows Server 2003 SP2 or Windows XP SP3 releases.