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
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
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.