Microsoft announced yesterday that its long-awaited new operating system Windows Vista will be available to retail customers from January 30th 2007.
News that Vista, the first updated version of Windows to be made available on the PC market since 2001, came just two days after the world's largest software manufacturer revealed that the system would be sold to corporate customers from November 30th.
The US-based company announced on Monday that it had completed the software code for its Office 2007 business software suite, which is included in the Vista package, claiming that the "gold code milestone" concluded the largest Microsoft Office beta programme to date.
Microsoft has estimated that sales of Windows PC software could rise by ten per cent or more in the financial year to June 30th following the release of Vista, with the bulk of additional profits expected to come during the second half.
But the development of Vista, which has been five years in the making, has been plagued by delays, having originally been due for release in August of this year.
New operating features which are part of the Vista system include enhanced security and antivirus protection, an improved 3D interface and a greater number of search options.
Commenting on the completion of the Office 2007 system code on Monday, Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft's business division, said: "We've crossed the development finish line, and the team deserves to celebrate.
"The 2007 Microsoft Office system RTM [release to manufacturing] completes the most significant improvements to the products in more than a decade.
"It's rewarding to be able to send this release off to our customers and help them take the next big leap forward in productivity," he added.