Office 2003 due, XP SP2 set back

Microsoft’s Office 2003 will be released in October, the company said last week. Separately, the company is also believed to be not planning to provide a new service pack for its XP operating system until next year, later than expected.

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By  Peter Branton Published  August 27, 2003

Microsoft’s Office 2003 will be released in October, the company said last week. Separately, the company is also believed to be not planning to provide a new service pack for its XP operating system until next year, later than expected.

The global launch of Office 2003 will be October 21, the company announced last week saying that all products in the software suite are now complete and have been released to manufacturing, meaning that they are being distributed to PC makers.

The timing of Office 2003’s launch is not a surprise, with this year’s Gitex tipped for the Middle East launch. Pricing given by Microsoft is unchanged from that for Office XP, with a US estimated retail price of $399 for the standard edition given by the vendor. Volume discounts will be announced in September.

While the timing of Office 2003 is not a surprise, the decision to wait until 2004 for the next service pack for XP has attracted comment. Based on previous OS service pack launches, analysts had been predicting SP2 would ship this year.

Windows XP was released in October 2001, and SP1 was shipped just under a year later. Service packs contain aggregates of security fixes, driver updates and new features for the OS, saving users having to update and patch the software themselves. However, Microsoft has been keen to stress the benefits of WindowsUpdate its patch-providing service.

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