Microsoft is re-branding the next versions of its Windows operating system and Office personal productivity applications in an attempt to signal its adoption of a more web-centric strategy.
As a result, new versions of the offerings will no longer carry a date moniker as in Windows 2000, but will carry the XP brand, which stands for "experience".
This means that the next release of Windows, which is codenamed Whistler and is due to ship in the second half of this year, will become Windows XP. The next version of Office, which is codenamed Office 10 and is scheduled for release towards the end of the first half of 2001, will become Office XP. Both are still currently in beta testing.
Microsoft said it will make further information about the two products available on 13 February, but explained that the XP branding symbolises "the rich and extended user experiences Windows and Office can offer by embracing web services that span a broad range of devices".
Some industry analysts warned, however, that the software giant is simply re-branding its product lines to try and enhance their image, and may use the launch to introduce pricing and licensing changes.
Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, claimed: "These breakthrough versions of Windows and Office will give people the most powerful end-to-end computing experiences ever available."
"The coming generation of Windows XP and Office XP will enable customers to communicate and collaborate more effectively, be more creative and productive, and have more fun with technology," he added.
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