Will the Real Release Dates for Vista SP1 (February 18) and XP SP3 (March 24) Please Stand Up!

Is Microsoft playing around with users?

That's right... Will the real release dates for Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 3 please stand up... Well, in all fairness, as far as Vista SP1 is concerned, Microsoft has been rather straightforward about the availability of the service pack. On February 4, 2008, Mike Nash, Corporate Vice President, Windows Product Management, announced that Microsoft had released Vista Sp1 to manufacturing together with Windows Server 2008. Still, despite the fact that the code for Vista SP1 has already gone gold, availability is scheduled to hit only in mid-March.

Or is it? French news outlet PC Inpact claims that Vista SP1 will in fact be delivered ahead of March 2008, in just two weeks. According to a change request for the product launch of Vista SP1 from the EMEA CSS BSG - Release Management and Readiness - the required implementation date is 18 February 2008. But is this the actual release date of Windows Vista SP1? Well, not necessary.

From the image on the left you can also see that the segment impacted is Customer Service, Technical Support. And the problem statement reads: "new product launching, we need to ensure vendors are ready to support our customers." In this context, it is clear that February 18, 2008, is actually the day when support for Vista SP1 will kick into effect, and that Microsoft has not changed its release schedule for Vista SP1, as outlined by Mike Nash.

The same is valid for Windows XP SP3. The required implementation date for XP SP3 is March 24, 2008, but there are also references to customer service and technical support, as well as the same "new product launching, we need to ensure vendors are ready to support our customers." However, this date is more relevant for XP SP3 than for Vista SP1. Microsoft has already dealt with making public the availability schedule for Vista SP1. However, it has failed to do the same for XP SP3. While Vista SP1 has RTMed, XP SP3's status is unknown at this point, despite the fact that the company dropped a Refresh 2 Build for the Release Candidate offered at the end of December. If support for Vista SP1 precedes the service pack by almost a month, does this mean that XP SP3 will drop in March-April 2008?


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