Well, Windows XP Professional 64-bit edition should be with us soon, and Microsoft is already counting their chickens before they hatch. Microsoft believes that "millions" of users will make the switch to the new desktop OS within the first year after release.

The hardware world is prepared in some sense for this arrival. AMD have had a 64-bit presence in the chip world for about two years now, and Intel will soon catch up. If Microsoft keep their promise and release the new OS during the first half of this year, there will certainly be processors to crunch that 64-bit code.

Microsoft says it is on track to meet its goal for a delivery of the final version of Windows XP Professional x64 during the first half of this year. "We are just out with the second release candidate and we plan this to be last one," said Brian Marr, senior product manager for Windows.