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Big-name partners for Microsoft XP

But will companies upgrade to Windows XP?
But will companies upgrade to Windows XP?  

By CNN's Graham Jones

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Microsoft has amassed a big A-list of Internet celebrity names to back its new operating system, Windows XP for its British launch.

There is chipmaker Intel and global brand names including Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Adobe and Sony.

There are big sites like, QXL,, and

Big UK corporations with big Internet involvement are there too -- Dixons, Egg and HMV.

Others include photographic specialists Jessops, Callserve and Symantac.

In all representatives of 19 partners are due to appear on stage at London's Royal Festival Hall on Thursday at the Windows XP launch with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "It's a fantastic example of co-marketing with our industry partners," a Microsoft spokeswoman told CNN.

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The software giant hopes these "early adopters" of the system will work with the company to develop XP over the years ahead.

UK government involvement in XP is already assured with the National Health Service's decision to sign a three-year software subscription to replace some 35,000 separate software orders.

This covers a range of Microsoft products including Office Professional XP, Access 2002 and Word 2002. It is expected to be used as a model by other British government departments.

The Department of Health says the contract will save $70 million a year though there has been criticism that after year one the financial burden will fall on individual NHS trusts.

There has also been criticism that difficulties would emerge with the three-year expiry of the deal.

Cornwall County Council has also arranged a partnership deal over XP which it estimated will save it $1.5 million over three years.

However, a note of caution on the readiness of companies to sign up for XP was sounded by Daniel Thomas of Britain's Computer Weekly.

A poll in his magazine reported that 81 percent of IT managers who responded said their companies had no plans to implement the new software.

"Yes XP is good. Yes it improves security and stability.

"But there's not enough there for business users to want to upgrade straight away.

"Really it has come too close to Windows 2000.

"The majority of company users will want to wait and see how goes. In the meantime they will stick to their existing three to four year upgrade plans."


• Microsoft.corp
• Computer weekly

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