According to a report this week from research analysis firm International Data Corporation (IDC), Microsoft will sell more than 73 million Windows XP licenses by the end of 2002, giving the new OS a dominant position in the market. The firm says that XP's increased reliability over Windows 2000, Windows Me, and Windows 9x will aid XP sales and Microsoft's overall market dominance. And according to IDC, XP will quickly account for more than 67 percent of all Windows product sales, letting Microsoft move away from the Win9x code base.

"IDC sees Windows XP as Microsoft's best solution to date for powering client environments," says IDC Research Manager Al Gillen. "Upon release, Windows XP will quickly take over the momentum that Windows 98 and Windows Me have, and much of the momentum that Windows 2000 Professional has in the market today."

IDC says that PC makers will quickly move to make XP the only available option on consumer machines, thanks to its increased reliability and security. For businesses, a mix of XP and Win2K is expected for the short term, but by early 2002, IDC predicts that mix will move to an all-XP product line, given Microsoft's volume-licensing terms. IDC says these changes will occur quickly despite impediments such as Windows Product Activation (WPA) and yet another round of hardware upgrades that XP's increased use of system resources will necessitate.