Microsoft to ship Windows XP in October

Microsoft Corp. will announce this week that Windows XP is slated to ship in late October, two sources familiar with the software giant’s plans said Friday.

While that ship date will match Microsoft’s plans to get the next version of its Windows operating system out the door by the end of the year, it is unclear whether the relatively late date — Oct. 29, according to one source, who requested anonymity — will upset the schedules of PC makers, who are looking to Windows XP to boost sales, particularly during holiday season.

A spokesman for the Redmond, Wash.-based company would not comment on the announcement, which is expected to come on Tuesday. He only would say that Microsoft was on target to release Windows XP in the second half of 2001.

Microsoft officials hope the announcement will quell speculation that production of Windows XP has slipped, and that the operating systems — Windows XP Home Edition, for consumers; and Windows XP Professional Edition, for corporate use — might not see the light of day until 2002.

Windows XP, currently in the beta 2 testing stage, is the upgrade for the Windows 9x line of operating systems — the most recent iteration is Windows Millennium Edition, or Windows ME — as well as Windows 2000. With the release, Microsoft is moving all its Windows offerings to one code base, based on the Windows NT kernel.