Windows XP takes a bite out of Big Apple

In an effort to revive support in its flagship operating system and in a city devastated by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Microsoft announced late Monday that it will officially unmask its anticipated Windows XP operating system at a flashy event in New York City's Time Square.

Bill Gates and various industry executives will host a launch event at the Marriott Marquis Theatre in New York's theater district on Oct. 25, Microsoft said.

The company is betting big on the new operating system to drive its strategy of pervasive computing, called .Net. With built-in features such as instant messaging and notification, two components of its Web services initiative formerly called Hailstorm, Windows XP is pegged as the first major operating system release to come from Microsoft since Windows 95.

In a statement Monday, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Microsoft's decision to launch the operating system in New York represents a revival of the city similar to that of the Windows platform. New York is recovering from Sept. 11's terrorist attacks, which toppled the World Trade Center towers and killed thousands.

"Microsoft's launch of Windows XP in our city is an affirmation of the business community's continuing commitment to New York City remaining the business capital of the world," Giuliani said in a statement. "It is another example of the fact that New York City is open for business."

While the Oct. 25 launch of the operating system will mark the date when Windows XP will be distributed widely in retail stores and through manufacturers, customers already have an opportunity to get the operating system from PC manufacturers.

Compaq Computer Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. Monday officially unveiled a series of computers that feature the operating system, available through their direct sales channels. Other PC makers, including Gateway Corp. and Dell Computer Corp. have also begun selling PCs configured with the operating system.

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