Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Microsoft Plans $300 Million Marketing Blitz for Windows XP SP2

Microsoft Plans $300 Million Marketing Blitz for Windows XP SP2 "Microsoft will spend $300 million marketing its biggest security release ever--Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). But the big question about XP SP2 isn't its price; the big question is SP2's timing. When, exactly, will Microsoft see fit to release this most disruptive of Windows updates?
The marketing campaign, which will be designed to educate and alert users to the security necessities of installing the update, will be far-reaching. The company will provide XP SP2 to customers through the Microsoft Windows Update and Automatic Updates electronic-updating services and will offer the standard network and compact downloads from its Web site. Retail stores such as Best Buy and CompUSA will give customers the update for free. Customers who want to get SP2 from Microsoft on CD-ROM will have to pay a small shipping and handling fee, I'm told. And because of the company's licensing agreements with PC makers, Microsoft will ensure that all new PCs that ship after SP2 is released will include the update.
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So what's behind all the delays? XP Lead Product Manager Greg Sullivan told me last week that application and Web site compatibility concerns are the biggest problems. SP2's innate security settings will break a lot of applications and services that are used to having unfettered access to the system. Sullivan said that XP SP2 will concentrate on four key areas: helping protect PCs from network-based attacks, enabling more secure email and Instant Messaging (IM), enabling more secure Internet experiences, and providing system-level protection for the base OS. In addition, SP2 will include several new and updated technologies, such as the Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) 2.0 client, Windows Media Player (WMP) 9 Series, Microsoft DirectX 9.0b, Bluetooth Client 2.0, and a new SmartKey wireless-network setup wizard."

$300M marketing campaign for a free product update? Yeah, I'd say Microsoft is serious about security...
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