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Jim Allchin, group vice president for operating system platforms at the software vendor, said during a teleconference that he would not suggest tabling Windows 2000 desktop projects in order to wait for the shipment of Windows XP, which will be released as different versions for business and home users.
Companies could move to XP later, if they are "in the middle of a [Windows 2000 installation] when Windows XP is launched," Allchin said. "But if they've already rolled out Windows 2000, I think they've got a great system there."
Gartner analyst Mike Silver said companies that do not plan to install the desktop version of Windows 2000 until next year might want to go directly to Windows XP instead.
"If they're in the midst of planning to bring in new machines later this year with Windows 2000, we say, 'Go ahead', " Silver said. "If they haven't started planning [by] the third or fourth quarter of this year, then they have to consider whether they should wait for XP."
Many corporate users tend to bypass the initial version of a new Windows release and wait for Microsoft's first service pack update, which addresses any bugs or other problems. But Silver said that shouldn't be a concern with XP. "We don't consider XP the first version," he said. "We consider it basically as a service pack with a few new features [added] to Windows 2000."
Planned Windows XP features geared toward businesses include a mode that lets applications designed for earlier versions of Windows run on XP, and a tool that lets wireless users gain automatic access to other networks.