Blue-Chips Roll Out Marketing Muscle Behind XP

More than 50 companies spanning nearly every aspect of the technology industry are putting their marketing might behind the long-awaited Microsoft Windows XP operating system, which officially debuts at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning.

Analyzed to death, XP will finally face its ultimate test — the only one that matters, really — of being accepted by businesses and consuming public.

But the XP hype machine faces an environment like no other that Microsoft has experienced with previous Windows upgrades. For the first time ever, worldwide spending on information technology (IT) is forecast to decrease, according to META Group.

To overcome the apprehension, Microsoft is taking a page out of its Windows 95 playbook, when in 1995 the Redmond, Wash.-based software company arrived in New York with an army of Windows 95 cheerleaders and the rights to the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up” that served as the centerpoint of its multi-million-dollar campaign.

Yet while some analysts acknowledge that XP represents a significant product rollout for the consumer, it still faces an uphill climb in the corporate market. Because many corporations are just now getting around to upgrading to Windows 2000, XP will have very little impact with enterprise clients.

“XP is really a consumer phenomenon. The corporate phenomenon was Windows 2000. There are very few companies that are looking shortly at XP,” said Steve Kleynhans, vice president of End User Platforms Group at META.

While Kleynhans said he does not want minimize XP’s impact on the consumer and small business, he added “Windows XP for corporations is going to be a minor event that will have some impact maybe a year from now.”

Nonetheless, Microsoft officials seem determined. This time with the rights to Madonna’s “Ray of Light,” Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and Group Vice President Jim Allchin on Wednesday surrounded themselves in the best of hi-tech company in order to count down to the midnight launch. For more coverage of Wednesday’s preview events, be sure to visit sister site, atNewYork, for frequent updates.

3Com Corp. Wednesday joined the hordes of tech firms gearing up to ride the backbone of Microsoft Corp.’s much-ballyhooed XP operating system when it unveiled more than 60 networking products, all of which enjoy embedded support in the OS.

3Com products supporting Windows XP include its entire line of 10/100/1000 Ethernet Network Interface Cards (NICs) and wired and wireless mobile solutions, which support the IEEE’s 802.11 standard. Highlights of 3Com connectivity solutions for Windows XP include: Gigabit Server PCI-X NIC; 10/100 Secure NIC; 10/100 Managed NIC; Wireless LAN (802.11) PC Cards with XJACK antenna; 10/100 LAN+56K Modem PC Cards; 10/100 LAN PC Card; and the 10/100+56K Mini PCI Adapter.

Dell employees, executives and products will help power the kick-off events that highlight the powerful, productive and fun features that Dell will deliver to customers with Windows XP. Dell began taking orders for notebook and desktop systems with Windows XP on Sept. 14.

AMD has worked closely with Microsoft on its own AMD Athlon XP processor marketed especially to Windows XP users. The processor features QuantiSpeed architecture, 384KB of on-chip, full-speed cache and is compatible with AMD’s Socket A infrastructure, and supports the advanced 266MHz front-side bus.

Adobe Systems plans to incorporate the “Designed for Windows XP” logo on its best-selling Photoshop software.

And, Intersil announced the availability of Microsoft Windows XP drivers for wireless networking products based on its PRISM WLAN technology.

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