Call it a Hamlet moment for the PC industry, filled with political intrigue and machinations worthy of the great Shakespeare play: to wait for XP SP3 or move to Vista now that Microsoft has released Vista SP1?
Or in other words: "To XP, or not to XP?" That is the question.
It's a question that is burning up the blogosphere with some speculating that Microsoft has delayed XP SP3, a long awaited release that could boost the performance of XP, to get more users to adopt Vista, a potential cash cow for Microsoft and PC makers given the operating system's robust hardware refresh requirements.
With many in the blogosphere speculating that Microsoft could release the final version of XP SP3 this week, Microsoft late Tuesday snuffed out all hope that users would see the service pack, originally slated for release in 2006, any time soon.
Instead of a final XP SP 3 release, Microsoft announced late Tuesday a refresh to the XP SP3 Release Candidate 2 version it posted to its Download Center just last month. The software giant cited the need to elicit more feedback from testers, but some solution providers aren't buying it.
"I think Microsoft is withholding XP SP3 until all of the smoke has blown over with Vista SP1," said Patrick Derosier, co-owner of CPU Guys, a Hanson, Mass system builder. "They are dealing with a driver backlash from Vista SP1 which was released only last week."
Derosier said Microsoft is grappling with a raft of Vista driver issues that is hampering the adoption of the operating sytem. He said CPU Guys recommends users stick with XP rather than move to Vista.
Derosier said Vista is not ready for prime time yet. "Vista still needs a lot more hardware support in the form of drivers from major vendors before we can recommend it," he said. "You can tell there is a problem when a major Intel video driver on many chipsets has a problem."