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XP SP2 Downloads Surpass 100M Mark

Two months after the heavily hyped release of Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), the company has exceeded its delivery projections for individual users and small businesses. But the jury is still out on whether large-scale enterprises will rush to adopt the OS upgrade.

According to statistics released by Microsoft, more than 106 million copies of SP2 have been distributed worldwide since the company released the service pack to manufacturers. At the two-month mark, Microsoft projected about 100 million downloads. A company spokesman said the heavy adoption signals an "incredible demand" for the security features built into SP2.

Of that 106 million, approximately 90 million copies were downloaded via Automatic Update, Windows Update and the Download Center, while another 16 million were distributed via free CD-ROMs, the spokesman told internetnews.com.

He conceded the 106 million figure represented distribution to individual XP users and small businesses only since enterprise customers are still testing the service pack in their unique environments.

"We don't have numbers on enterprises, but from the feedback we've received, they're still busy testing the update and they're reporting good results," he added.

Despite Microsoft's optimism, the early indications suggest enterprise customers aren't in a mad rush to implement the SP2 update. In fact, the company was forced to push back its internal deadline to appease businesses who needed more time for testing.

The software giant had originally planned to automatically install the service pack to all Windows customers by mid-December, but the company extended the deadline to April 2005.

"Enterprise customers are telling us they see real value in the security enhancements. They intend to deploy the service pack following a period of internal testing. That is consistent with our recommendations to them," the spokesman said.

"We advised that our enterprise customers evaluate SP2 in a test environment before deploying on all of their XP desktops. Companies continue to evaluate SP 2 as expected. We anticipate that SP2 deployments in enterprise environments will accelerate over the next 4 to 12 months, as IT administrators complete their evaluations and formulate deployment plans," he added.

The spokesman declined to divulge financial details on the cost of marketing and shipping the service pack.

"SP2 is part of an ongoing effort that will take time, as there is no silver bullet. We don't at this point have an estimate on the financial investment we're making in SP2."

The company originally planned to spend in the range of $300 million to support the launch. The bulk of that money is being spent on working with OEMs to get the service pack installed on new PCs, as well as working with retailers to have SP2 installed on all new machines -- even those that were shipped to the stores without the upgrade.