Microsoft delays release of Windows Vista

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The Independent Online

Microsoft will not release the consumer version of its new Windows operating system until January 2007, after previously saying it hoped to release the software later this year.

Windows Vista is Microsoft first major update to the company's flagship operating system since Windows XP was released in late 2001.

The company will release some versions of the new operating system for big businesses by November as planned, but the consumer version would be held until January, said Jim Allchin, co-president of the Microsoft division that includes Windows.

Allchin said the decision to delay the release came after Microsoft realized that Vista would be completed several weeks later than originally planned, in large part because of efforts to improve security in the new system.

That was enough for some retailers, computer makers and other corporate partners to say they would have trouble preparing for the holiday season.

"The fact is that we wanted everybody in the industry to be ready for this," Allchin told journalists and analysts in a conference call.

* Microsoft today offered "free, unlimited technical support" to rivals interested in making their software work with servers of the software giant, it was announced in Brussels.

Microsoft said it was a sign it was seeking full compliance with an EU antitrust ruling.

"We are committed to doing everything in our power to address the (European) Commission's concerns," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in a statement.