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Windows XP Service Pack 2 Remains On Schedule

Microsoft plans a broader distribution of the beta of its Windows XP Service Pack 2 and remains on schedule for shipping final code in the first half of this year -- but has pushed back the release of its Software Update Services 2.0 until the second half of 2004.

The progress report was issued Tuesday by Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Business and Technology Unit, during his monthly Webcast on security matters.

Nash said he and a select number of developers have been working since November on the new security features of Windows XP Service Pack 2. Soon a "broader" number of testers will have access to the beta. "Not everyone can get [the beta version]," said Nash, acknowledging growing customer demand to test in-house the Windows XP security update. "Over time, we're broadening the beta -- and very shortly."

Nash added, however, that while the Windows XP SP 2 remain on track to ship during the first half of 2004, SUS 2.0 -- which has been renamed Windows Update Services --won't reach the market until the second half of 2004. The first beta version of Windows Update Services was announced and released at the Microsoft Management Summit 2004 also on Tuesday.

An official Microsoft slide presented during Nash's briefing showed that SUS 2.0, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Microsoft Update hosted patch management software will be available in the second half of 2004. Last October, Microsoft had promised SUS 2.0 would ship by May of 2004.

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