Despite last-minute glitch, XP to go gold on time

Despite growing speculation that Microsoft has moved up delivery of Windows XP's final code to manufacturing to this week, a source close to the company said it is still sticking to its original plan of delivering it the week of August 20.

The delivery date of the gold code to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) was set for the week of Aug. 20, specifically Aug. 22, quite some time ago, the source said. But due to what is described as a "couple of minor security glitches," the final code may not be ready until later next week.

"They have uncovered a couple of pieces of code that represent security risks. With all the recent publicity about security cracks in Windows, people there [at Microsoft] have decided to take an extra 48 hours to make sure it is absolutely solid," according to the source, who is familiar with the company's plans.

The added delay should not impact OEMs who plan to make the much-anticipated operating systems available on their systems by the end of September. The company typically builds in an extra few days to accommodate such last-minute technical problems.

"They had to go gold by the end of the week of [August] 20th if they were going to meet their deadlines for getting all of the updated printed materials like books [and] user guides into the box for retail on Oct. 25," said the source.

Some observers have speculated during the past month that Microsoft was purposely trying to fast-track Windows XP so as to beat a potential injunction by government officials that would halt its delivery. The source within Microsoft said that it is not true because the enormity of the product has dictated from the start that the company stick to its schedule set months ago.

"We are not on a death march to get this out before some legal action hits," he said. "That's naïve thinking. This is a huge project. Like a train coming down the tracks, we can't make sudden shifts like that."

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