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Gold - Windows Vista

Microsoft finishes work on Windows Vista has word that Microsoft's new operating system has been deemed ready for prime time, and is due in stores on January 30:

SEATTLE - Microsoft Corp. finished work Wednesday on its long-delayed Windows Vista operating system, and said the software would be broadly available Jan. 30.

The announcement means Microsoft will meet just barely its revised goal of putting Vista in consumers' hands in the first month of 2007.

Windows Vista's code was released midmorning Wednesday to manufacturing a step that allows the company to begin making the copies that will be distributed with PCs and sold at stores, said Jim Allchin, co-president of the Microsoft division that includes Windows, in a conference.

"This is a good day," Allchin said.

Microsoft had previously said it would release Vista to big business clients at an event at the Nasdaq Stock Market on Nov. 30, and Allchin reiterated Wednesday that corporations who buy Windows licenses in bulk will get the new system this month. That's also in keeping with the company's revised release schedule.

The release will be the first major upgrade in more than five years to the operating system that powers most of the world's personal computers. Vista boasts improved graphics, more effective tools for finding documents, pictures and other items on personal computers, and a new Internet browser, among other changes.

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