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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 20:44 GMT
Vista to hit the shops in January
Microsoft Vista, Microsoft
The launch of Windows Vista has been dogged by delays
Microsoft's Windows Vista will be available to retail customers from 30 January 2007, the company has said.

The news comes days after the firm said the next version of the Windows operating system would be available to corporate customers from 30 November.

New elements in the updated software include an improved 3D interface, more search options and extra security.

Vista will be Microsoft's first new versions of Windows for the PC market since 2001.

There will be six versions of Vista - three for business, two for home use and one for developing nations. The price of the software will range from $100 to $399, Microsoft said.

Holiday sales worries

However, the January launch means that the firm could miss out on the lucrative Christmas marketing period.

As a result, Microsoft is offering coupons for free or discounted versions of Vista to customers who buy a PC with the older Windows XP installed to convince consumers to buy computers over the holiday period.

Microsoft has estimated that the new system could trigger a rise of 10% or more in Windows PC software sales in the financial year to 30 June, with most of the increase coming in the second half of the year.

Vista is the long-awaited update of the Windows operating system that was originally slated to be released in August 2006. The software has been under development for more than five years.

The software is a major overhaul of Windows and updates many of the core technologies. New elements include improved security, an improved 3D interface, plus new sound and networking technologies.

Microsoft has already released information about what PCs will have to do to run the software. Many PC makers are now selling "Vista-ready" computers.

In the US the software will be unveiled by Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer at an event at the New York Stock Exchange.

Minimum Recommended
Processor 800MHz 1GHz 32 or 64 bit
System Memory 512MB 1GB
Graphics card DirectX 9 capable Runs Windows Aero
Graphics Memory - - 128MB
Free space on Hard Drive 15GB 15GB
Source: Microsoft

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