Microsoft has pushed back the delivery date of the next major Windows XP service pack update to the second half of 2007, as much as a year later than earlier reports had indicated.
According to Microsoft's recently updated service pack road map, Windows XP Service Pack 3, or SP3, will release sometime after June 2007. The date, which Microsoft says is preliminary, is about a year later than some 2005 reports cited after CEO Steve Ballmer held forth in Scandinavia. Later, however, Microsoft confirmed that XP SP3 would roll out after Microsoft Vista debuts, not before.
Vista is currently scheduled to go final by the end of this year.
In the same roadmap, Microsoft posted the second half of 2006 as the anticipated release frame for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (SP2).
Windows XP SP2 was unveiled in August 2004, but since then Microsoft has been mum about new features it may (or may not) implement in SP3. In October, a company representative took an unsanctioned patch, dubbed Windows SP3 Preview Pack, to task as not only unauthorized, but risky.
Even if Microsoft meets the SP3 deadline, three years will have passed between major updates to Windows XP. The Redmond, Wash.-based developer took slightly less than two years between XP SP1 and SP2.
Last week, Microsoft extended support for Windows XP Home through 2008, a change from earlier plans to drop support for the OS by the end of 2006.