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XP - Can Jim Allchin lift Microsoft, computer sales?

Allchin, head of Microsoft's platforms division and part of Chairman Bill Gates' inner circle, is the maestro behind the computer program dubbed XP — the flashiest, most powerful and perhaps the most controversial product in Microsoft's 26-year history.

"This is the finest operating system in the world," Allchin declared in August, on the day his team finished XP after an all-night bout of testing.

XP goes on sale Thursday with a $250 million global marketing blitz.

Allchin was not always a champion of Windows. He reportedly said no when Gates tried to recruit him from a Massachusetts software company, in part because he thought Windows was a terrible piece of work. Gates finally lured him in fall 1990 with a challenge to build a better version.

Ever since he was a boy, Allchin has loved to build things, especially things that use electricity. When he was 5, he made a transformer in his parents' barn. It was supposed to operate on battery current, however, and it burst into flames when he plugged it into an outlet. Excerpt from the Seattle Times

News source: Seattle Times

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