Redmond, Wash.--Building anticipation for its next-generation operating system, Microsoft Corp. said Friday that its Windows XP has been released to global manufacturers. The company said it is scheduled for wide release of Windows XP on Oct. 25. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said in a statement that Windows XP underscores the potential of the digital decade with a totally new look to its user interface, Internet security improvements and performance enhancements. Upgrades from previous Windows operating systems will begin at $99. The product may prove critical to the slumping IT industry-new releases of Windows software have historically spurred upswings in overall computer and software sales.