Microsoft Hopes to Release Vista in January

Microsoft sees January Vista release

Microsoft Corp's release of Windows Vista should begin in November with roll-out to businesses and broader release of the software to general customers by January, company officials said on Tuesday.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told local software partners at a Cape Town technology conference there was an "80 percent chance" Vista would be ready as scheduled for broad release in January, a company spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman, who asked not to be named, said the current plan was to begin releasing Vista to business customers in November, with the general release in January.

There has been speculation that the much-expected new operating system could be delayed, although this has been denied by top company officials.

Microsoft originally targeted a 2005 launch for the new Windows, then pushed the release to 2006 before announcing in March that Vista would again be delayed to improve the product.

The new versions of Microsoft's Windows and Office software are central to the company's efforts to revive a stock that has underperformed major indexes since the start of 2002.

Gates made his comments to Microsoft software partners at a conference in Cape Town to discuss how technology can be harnessed to boost Africa's competitiveness.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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