By maintaining the parallel availability of Windows Vista and Windows XP, Microsoft is successfully offering inhouse competition to its own products. The Redmond company is in fact stretched between pushing Vista on all fronts, and pouring all of its efforts into its latest operating system, and continuing to offer and support Windows XP due to the consistent feedback coming from consumers, system builders and original equipment manufacturers. At the same time, Microsoft is cooking the next stages of evolution for both Vista and XP. In fact, the service packs for the two operating systems are almost synchronized and both scheduled for the first half of 2008. But while almost 80% of users still run XP with just over 7% having switched to Vista, is XP SP3 a valid option rather than Vista SP1? Well, not really...
First off, Windows XP was introduced in late 2001, and updated in 2004 with Service Pack 2. In this context, SP3 will not make XP any less expired. Of course that Microsoft does not consider XP obsolete, and it will breathe life into the Home, Media Center and Professional editions of the platform throughout 2014, as it extended support before Vista hit the market. On top of this, it will also sell the operating system through retail and OEM channels until mid 2008, and via system builders until February 2009. Still, opting for XP SP3 rather than Vista and its SP1 means that you will have to ride XP for all it’s got until 2010. Only in three years’ time will you be able to upgrade XP to Windows 7 (Seven), Vista's successor. By 2010, you will be running a nine-year-old operating system... It's the same as thinking that you could still be using Windows 98 today.
Secondly, XP SP2 will not be a repeat of XP SP2. Microsoft made it clear that the second service pack for Windows XP was an exception brought about by a specific context. The third and final refresh for XP will be a standard service pack cumulating updates, security patches, hotfixes and just a sprinkle of added functionality and features. That's right, XP SP3 will be getting a taste of Windows Vista, but nothing more, and certainly not enough to justify ignoring Vista. No matter the expectations of XP SP3, currently planned for the first half of 2008, Microsoft will deliver little satisfaction with the refresh beyond what users experience with XP SP2.
The third reason is none other than the first service pack for Windows Vista. Microsoft's latest operating system was released at the time when the environment of devices, applications and hardware was not fully ready for it. By Vista SP1, in the first quarter of 2008, the ecosystem orbiting the operating system will be mature enough to deliver full support and compatibility. Now, there is little doubt that Vista is a superior product to XP. However, a few glitches have held the platform back and generated a plethora of mixed reviews. With SP1, Microsoft will soften all of Vista's rough corners in terms of reliability, performance and compatibility. Will all the details taken care of, SP1 will indeed recommend upgrading from XP.Microsoft, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Service Pack, Vist SP1, SP1 Beta, XP SP3, SP3 Beta, Security Update, Beta