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Byline: Brier Dudley
Aug. 24--Decorated helicopters are expected to fly over Redmond this morning as Microsoft delivers its new Windows XP operating system to computer makers in a cheeky publicity stunt.
But the militaristic tone is appropriate: The company is waging an all-out battle for its future, fighting government lawyers with one hand and the dwindling market for personal computers with the other, and in the center of the fracas is Windows XP.
"Windows XP will be the single biggest thing we can do to improve product satisfaction with the personal computer overall, slam-dunk, no questions asked," Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer told financial analysts at a conference last month.
Computer makers are getting XP just as a U.S. district court may begin to weigh how to remedy Microsoft's violation of antitrust laws, the latest development in the long-running case. Unless any legal maneuver succeeds in blocking the software until the case is resolved, computers loaded with XP will go on sale next month, with XP disks available in stores Oct. 25.