The eXPerience begins

— 12:25 PM on August 24, 2001

WinXP has officially gone gold, and is now being primed for helicopter release later today. Unless you're invited to the party, you won't be able to pick up the new OS in stores until October 25th, and it isn't going to be cheap.

Windows XP comes in two flavors, one for home users and the other for business professionals. The Home Edition upgrade carries a manufacturer's authorized price (MAP) of $99, or about $10 more than Windows Me. The full version is $199, or about $20 more than Windows Me.

The Professional Edition will cost around $199 as an upgrade or $299 for the full version, which in both instances is about a $20 increase over Windows 2000. But compared to a special $120 promotional offer for Windows 2000 Professional, the commercial XP version will cost nearly $80 more.

If XP is really of release quality, the fact that Microsoft was able to push it out the door early is certainly impressive. I guess the justice department breathing down your neck is a good motivator. Even more impressive, however, is Redmond's apparent ability to raise the dead to participate in a letter writing lobby campaign. State Attorney Generals have been getting letters, likely written by Microsoft spin doctors, which are signed by deceased constituents.
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