Microsoft has let the planned shipment date for its Service Pack 3 update to Windows XP slip again, this time to the first half of 2008.
Windows XP SP3, which is scheduled to include security patches, bug fixes and other housekeeping updates as well as some new add-ons, was until recently scheduled for release sometime next year.
But Microsoft updated the information about SP3 on its Windows Service Pack Road Map Web site last week. According to the Web site, SP3 now is planned for a 2008 release for both the Home and Professional editions of Windows XP. Microsoft noted that even the new date "is preliminary."
If Microsoft does meet its new schedule, SP3 will arrive almost four years after the company released Windows XP SP2 in August 2004. In addition, the new service pack would become available more than a year after the release of XP's successor, Windows Vista, which is due later this year for corporate users and in early 2007 for home users.
Typical intervals between service pack releases for Windows are one to two years.
An unofficial preview of SP3 surfaced on the Web a year ago, although at that time, Microsoft said it still hadn't even decided whether it would release another service pack for XP.
Microsoft officials couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday on the new release schedule for SP3. The company also has moved back the release date of SP2 for Windows Server 2003 from late this year to the first quarter of next year.
Reaction on the Web to the change in plans for the XP update ranged from users who said the delay is a natural outgrowth of Microsoft focusing its resources on last-minute Vista development to others who claimed that it is an attempt by the software vendor to push customers running XP to upgrade to Vista.