After a message on the Windows Update V5 newsgroups regarding a possible interim build being released, Microsoft have back tracked and denied that there will be another interim release. Mike Brannigan (MSFT) called the posting "Untrue and inaccurate" and stated that the next public release is the RTM. According to reliable sources at Microsoft the scroll build (RTM) is due to be finished as early as next week or within the next 2 weeks. Current builds stand at 2161.
After the RTM date OEMs have 90 days to ship SP2 pre-installed on their XP machines. Within those 90 days they're required to ship the XP SP2 update CD with machines. CDs will be made available at support outlets (PC World Support) and on frontpage magazine covers. Microsoft are aiming to make sure everyone gets this update and will be spending just as much time & money promoting it as developing it.
Once Windows XP SP2 has hit RTM this will provide room for more development on Longhorn. Currently there have been only 8 builds since the WinHEC build in May. 8 builds in 2 months shows how Microsoft is focussing on XP SP2 at the moment. Build 4088 is the latest build internally and as of yet there have not been any reported changes since WinHEC.
Around the October time frame we will see "XP Reloaded" in action. The marketing campaign will kick off with the availability of Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2004, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and Windows Media Player 10. Interestingly Microsoft is changing the way Media Center Edition works. Media Center Edition was always based off the Windows XP Professional version of XP and not the home edition. Current MCE builds lose the ability to add the machine to a domain after setup is complete (you can still add the machine during setup). Microsoft are trying to convert MCE so it's stripped of professional features so it's cheaper for OEMs and for a possible retail on the product. If they could package MCE alongside OEMs and produce a "Media Center Kit" that would combine a TV card/Remote and Media Center Edition software it would sell very, very well.
For now though lets look forward to Service Pack 2 reaching the final stage of development and focus on Windows XP Service Pack 3, lets face it SP2 is SO last week
Original News Source: Neowin.net