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Sun 26 Mar 2006 04:00 AM

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Vista slips to 2007

Vista, the next-generation of the Windows operating system, won’t be available for general sale until January next year, Microsoft said last week.

Vista, the next-generation of the Windows operating system, won’t be available for general sale until January next year, Microsoft said last week.

The delay is a massive blow for the company and its partners as it means it won’t be ready for the critical holiday period.

Microsoft CEO Bill Gates had promised as far back as 2004 that Vista (then code-named Longhorn) would be available for 2006.

Now, the company says, while Vista will be available to volume-licensing customers by November, general sales won’t start until January 2007.

The software maker was putting on a brave face by claiming the hold-up was being made for the benefit of computer makers, retailers and customers, but the setback will mean Microsoft and its partners miss out on this year’s lucrative holiday season.

The fourth quarter is traditionally by far the most important to PC sales.

“Quality is the top-line message and we need a few more weeks and that puts us in what we call a bubble where some partners would be impacted more than others and we decided to optimise it for the entire industry,” Jim Allchin, Microsoft platforms and services division co-president explained last week in a conference call.

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