Monday, January 29 12:00 AM ET

Microsoft Hopes XP SP3
Will Spur Vista Upgrades

By Brian Briggs

Redmond , WA – Microsoft hopes to spur interest in upgrades to its Vista operating system by releasing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP.

Vista has received little interest from individuals and consumers, because many don't see a compelling reason to upgrade from the relatively stable Windows XP. Corporations, who cannot afford downtime from bugs normally found in first releases, are especially wary. Most plan to wait until Microsoft releases the first Service Pack for Vista.

Microsoft's innovative strategy to counter this reluctance to upgrade will be to release a bug-ridden, security hole-filled Service Pack 3 for XP.  "Most people are happy with Windows XP and have no reason to upgrade, but SP3 will fix all that," said Microsoft's VP of Service Packs George Francione.  "The bugs and security holes can't be reversed, so there's no going back. The only viable solution will be to upgrade to Vista."

Service Pack 3 will be delivered through XP's automatic update procedure and should begin arriving shortly after Vista launches.

Many corporations have disabled automatic updates in Windows XP choosing to install updates on their own schedule.  However, SP3 bypasses this preference using a software back door installed with Service Pack 2.

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"Customers will automatically get Service Pack 3 and will get the Vista upgrades shortly after.  It's win-win for everyone," said Francione.

Customers who find a way to bypass the update to Service Pack 3 will be labeled as violators by the Windows Genuine Advantage program and will face fines and jail time.  Many critics of the forced upgrade plan find this punishment extreme, but Microsoft counters that "they obviously haven't seen the Aero interface."

SP3 will also remove Solitaire and Minesweeper to ensure it catches the attention of CEOs around the world.

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