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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 21:40 GMT 22:40 UK
Business software helps Microsoft
The new software should be available in 2006
Now arriving in 2007...
Software giant Microsoft has reported a 16% rise in third-quarter profits thanks to strong sales of its business management and database software.

Net profit hit $3bn (1.7bn) on sales of $10.9bn for the three months to 31 March.

More than 50% of the firm's sales come from its Windows operating system and its Office business software suite.

But demand for these is set to fall this year as consumers wait for new versions due for release next January.

Waiting for Vista

It had intended to launch the Vista operating system - the first major update since Windows XP was introduced five years ago - in the second half of 2006, but has delayed the consumer launch until the beginning of next year, when it will be launched with the new Office 2007 software suite.

Until then Microsoft will be relying on sales from its Xbox games console and SQL database software to help bolster revenues.

The first-quarter results disappointed investors, sending Microsoft's shares down nearly 5% in after-hours trading.

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