Microsoft has dismissed out of hand reports that suggest the launch of its Windows XP operating system may be delayed until 2002.
US media had cited sources within PC makers as saying that the Redmond giant had briefed them "at a fairly high level" that final code may not be ready by the late July/early August period they had expected.
The sources said that, were this date to be missed, Microsoft would delay its launch until 2002 and that they had left the meeting "with the impression that all bets were off for this year".
A later date in 2001 would not give PC makers enough time to test and install the operating system on new machines in order for them to reach shops for the peak November and December season.
US analysts speculated that some problems with driver compatibility, or the knock-on effects of delays affecting chipmakers, may be the causes of any delay.
Others even suggested that a release date clash with Microsoft's in-development video games console, X-box, could delay Windows XP so as to avoid the firm launching two major marketing efforts within weeks of each other.
However, a delay for this reason would simply shift the clash from the US market to Europe, where X-box has a 2002 scheduled release date.
A Microsoft spokeswoman dismissed all these bogeyman factors as "nothing but rumour and speculation", adding that the company was "exactly on target to deliver code in the second half of the year".
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