Microsoft announces that new Vista OS on schedule

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Microsoft Corporation announced on Wednesday it has finished all work on its long-delayed Windows Vista operating system (OS) and plans to release it to consumers January 30 2007.

The Windows Vista Logo

The announcement means Microsoft is on track to meet its revised release schedule.

Jim Allchin, co-president of the Microsoft division that includes Windows, said that Windows Vista's code was released to begin manufacturing copies early on Wednesday.

"This is a good day," Allchin declared.

Microsoft previously announced that it would release Windows Vista to large business clients at an event at the NASDAQ Stock Market on November 30 2006, and make it available to consumers sometime in January 2007.

The release will be the first major upgrade in more than five years to the OS of the company that powers most of the world's PCs. Vista claims to have improved graphics, more effective tools for finding documents, pictures and other items on PCs, and a new Internet browser.

Vista's release has been victim to a series of delays, the most recent delay was blamed in part on efforts to improve security of the OS.

In its quest to get Vista up and running, Microsoft also has had to scrap some of its original goals, including getting rid of a more sophisticated method for sorting and organizing information. Analysts have said that scaling back the system could hurt the company if people don't see enough of a reason to upgrade.

The most recent delays also forced Microsoft to miss the holiday season, possibly dealing a blow to computer makers and retailers who would have been hoping for the new OS to boost holiday gift sales.

Microsoft and other computer manufacturers are offering holiday shoppers coupons good for a free or discounted Vista upgrade.

It's not clear how quickly big businesses will start using Vista. It can often take months if not years for companies to test a new operating system and make sure it will work well with the other programs they rely on.

Allchin said Microsoft is providing tools that allow companies to test for compatibility problems more quickly than with past Windows releases. He also said he hopes the security improvements would drive companies to upgrade faster.

Microsoft estimates that the new OS could set off a hike of 10% or more in Windows software sales in the financial year to June 30, with most of the increase coming in the second half of the year.

Microsoft shares rose 3 cents (from US$ 28.95) to close at US$28.98 Wednesday on the NASDAQ.