But despite great expectations, the XP does not look likely to give a much-needed boost to the ailing IT sector as previously hoped.
IT managers may be reluctant to upgrade PC hardware to run the software in the current economic climate, and analysts believe that take-up will therefore be more prominent among consumers than businesses.
To run Windows XP, which has cost Microsoft more than $1bn (£690m) to promote, users will need a minimum specification of 233MHz Pentium II with 64Mb of Ram, but 300MHz and 128Mb of Ram are recommended.
Andy Buss, an analyst at Canalys.com, said the take-up will be a big step forward for users. ‘A lot of customers have been putting off buying a PC until the launch of XP, which means good short-term business in the run-up to Christmas for Microsoft. It is after Christmas that actual take-up will become clear,’ he explained.
He added that many businesses are still standardising on Windows 2000 and will not want to upgrade again for a while.
Andy Brown, an IDC analyst, agreed. ‘Users will wait a while before upgrading, which is not going to happen until the end of next year. I think XP will initially be adopted by early enthusiasts, rather than the business community,’ he said.
David Atherton, managing director of online reseller Dabs.com, said the company has a ‘few hundred back-orders for the Windows XP upgrade. More people today are happier using an “old” version of Windows than at any time in the past.’
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