Bill Gates Says Vista likely to be ready in January

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said Tuesday there was an 80 percent chance the company’s next-generation operating system, Windows Vista, would be ready in January. However, Gates said at a presentation in Cape Town to Microsoft software partners that he would delay the launch if beta testing uncovered shortcomings.

He said Microsoft was investing $8 billion to $9 billion in developing Vista and the company’s next version of Office, its key cash-generator. He said the company’s software partners, in developing and adapting their own products for the two launches, would invest 20 times as much as Microsoft. Gates said he hoped the next version of Office would be ready in December. The new Vista operating system will have speech and visual recognition tools and be backed by strong security measures, he said. It would move away from reliance on easy-to-crack passwords to greater reliance on visual identification and software shields on Internet attacks.

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