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Microsoft: Vista Will Ship In Late January

A Microsoft exec insists the company is on track to ship Windows Vista, the oft-delayed next-generation operating system, in late January.
Microsoft is on track to ship Windows Vista, the oft-delayed next-generation operating system, in late January, a company executive said Tuesday.

"As of now, the release schedule of Vista is unchanged," Timothy Chen, chief executive of Microsoft's Greater China region, told the AFP wire service Tuesday. "In a word, Vista for small businesses and consumers will be released late in the fourth quarter and late January," said Chen.

In March, Microsoft announced it would delay Vista's release until January for the general public, with corporate customers slated to receive the OS in November. Since then, however, analysts have questioned those dates, saying it was much more likely that the Vista would be delayed deep into 2007. Last month, even Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman, gave Vista only an 80 percent chance of making its release dates.

Chen's use of the word "late" to note the release in January, however, is the first time Microsoft has been specific within the month about the timing of Vista's availability.

"We've been working closely with our OEM hardware partners," added Chen Tuesday, backing up comments made Monday by Alex Huang, Microsoft's Greater China regional director, who said that the Redmond, Wash. developer would ask computer makers to provide perks for 2006 buyers who upgrade to Vista when it's released.

Microsoft has a contingent of 379 executives from its China operations in Taipei, Taiwan for week-long conferences, marking the visit as the biggest-ever group of Chinese visitors to travel to the island. The trip was only possible after Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council agreed to an exception of the usual regulations that ban direct contact with the mainland and limit the number in any single group of Chinese visitors to 30.