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Is Windows XP SP3 A Huge Mistake?

Microsoft is in the process of testing Service Pack 3 for Windows XP, in preparation for a wide release, and all indications are that it is a significant performance improvement for XP. In fact, the performance of XP under SP3 is so good, that some are saying it makes Windows Vista look like a chump.

It’s already a fact that Windows XP, with a six-year old architecture and tons of patches to stabilize and protect it, is Windows Vista’s number one competitor. XP is relatively stable, carries lower requirements, is compatible with almost everything and is usually already installed on most computers (except brand new ones). The challenge for Microsoft isn’t so much to prove Vista is better than Apple’s Mac OS, but that it is better than XP.

Microsoft until now has been challenging the image of XP in the marketplace, but when SP3 releases, it’ll actually be competing with itself. XP SP3 is an improvement to an already popular operating system, one that puts a direct shot across Vista’s bow, and actually sets up the team that developed SP3 as competition for Windows Vista.

Microsoft’s not stupid. It knows that it is in some ways shooting its own Vista in the foot with SP3, making Vista’s adoption harder against an improved XP point release. It would have been dishonest to its customers to cripple XP SP3 just to help Vista, and you can see how much Microsoft has improved in that it isn’t doing so. An “evil” company certainly would have.

Microsoft is likely counting on two things. Most probably, it will not significantly market SP3 like it did for Service Pack 2 three years ago. Current users will get the improvement, but Microsoft won’t encourage people to buy XP now that it has been improved. Microsoft wants you to get a better XP, but if you don’t have it, they still want you picking up Vista, which is also getting an improved Service Pack 1 release.

Besides that, Microsoft is probably hoping the good will from SP3 will encourage you to keep using Windows. Microsoft is seriously improving an older product at a significant cost to itself, showing commitment to improving its users experience at any cost. Microsoft will remind you that Vista will receive the same commitment, and that Apple charges money for point releases every two years.

Will it work? SP3 is going to cost Microsoft and Vista in the short run, but in the long run it could be a huge help for the company. At the least, if you’re buying XP, you’re still not buying Apple, right?

Photo by doobybrain under CC license

November 30th, 2007 Posted by | Apple, General, Vista, Windows, XP | 5 comments

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  1. [...] about everyone that thinks it’s a big deal. It’s really not, and I hope this provides some context. And it’s not a huge mistake, it’s just good business. Share this post Published Friday, November 30, 2007 12:14 PM by [...]

    Pingback by Robert McLaws: Windows Vista Edition : XP SP3: The Problem With Benchmarking Beta Software | November 30, 2007

  2. Duh. It’s a large mistake.

    Why work on your older OS, when you should be focusing on your current and new OS?

    This just puts down Vista more than anything. Dumb mistake. I thought MS was getting over from doing that.

    Comment by Michael | November 30, 2007

  3. Micheal, Microsoft does not care about what version of windows you have, as long it is windows. and it also knows many people and companies don’t have the hardware resources to jump on windows vista just yet. eventually when everybody realizes windows vista is better than windows XP, everyone will be praising vista, just like everyone does for XP now.

    nice post? whoever wrote it.

    Comment by Nelson | November 30, 2007

  4. Keep in mind that Microsoft can theoretically still roll back any improvements in the current (beta? alpha?) version of SP3.

    I just wonder what would happen if that’s what they’d do. It’d probably be featured in a Slashdot article, but I doubt something like that would make mainstream media – which means they can probably even get away with it, if that would be their decision.

    Besides, I seem to recall some “performance” statistics being measured for XP and Vista by comparing Office 2007 performance among the two OSes. It could be argued that’s a better measurement of Office 2007 performance than Windows performance. If Office 2007 runs better on XP SP3 than on XP SP2, that could just mean Microsoft improved SP3 almost exlcusively for Office 2007, due to performance problems or something. It may or may not result in a measurable increase in performance in everyday use, in different applications (…

    Comment by Tim | December 1, 2007

  5. what ultimately matters is user satisfaction and if that has to come with windows xp , let it be that way.

    Comment by How To ShutDown XP Faster | December 1, 2007

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