Analysts predicted Windows XP might have a sting or two in its tail, even though it will outperform any current Microsoft offering.
Microsoft's group vice president Jim Allchin claimed: "We are going to blow out the holiday season." He said Microsoft plans to back the long-awaited launch of Windows XP with a marketing campaign which would dwarf the show put on for the release of Windows 95.
Mat Hanrahan, senior analyst at Bloor Research, warned that although Windows XP offered some fine maintenance tools as part of its package, it also gives control to Microsoft in areas it previously had no access to.
"The product activation feature causes concern, as it allows Microsoft to keep the activation key," he said.
He claimed Windows XP would take a fingerprint of the user's system and send it to Microsoft technicians before installing the programme. Any future upgrades or instalments would be jeopardised if the fingerprint did not match, resulting in a system deactivation.
Hanrahan also cautioned that the system would be "hardware hungry", making it expensive and probably prone to driver problems. "Many of the features will be useless until broadband technology is up and running," he argued.
Windows XP, which will be available on new PCs and as a full upgrade version, is built on an enhanced Windows 2000 engine. It will be available in Home and Professional editions, for use in businesses of all sizes.