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Gates 'glad' to delay Vista some more

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The next release of Windows could hit further delays, according to Bill Gates who conceded there's a 20 per cent chance Windows Vista won't arrive next January.

Gates told partners in South Africa there is an 80 per cent chance the already delayed Windows Vista would be available as planned in January 2007. Microsoft's out going chief software architect left listeners to connect the dots.

Further delays to Windows Vista will occur if beta testing throws up further bugs, Gates said. "We've got to get this absolutely right. If the feedback from beta tests show it is not ready for prime time, I'd be glad to delay it," he said.

A delay will throw another spanner into the plans of Microsoft business units and the company's software partners. Microsoft and partners are lining up a generation of products and online services designed specifically to capitalize on web services in Windows Vista. In both cases, managers will need to decide whether to press ahead or again postpone their product plans.

According to Gates, Microsoft is spending between $8bn and $9bn developing Windows Vista and the accompanying Office 2007, with partners investing "20 times" as much.

On the other end of the hype cycle, meanwhile, Microsoft's bullet-headed CEO on Tuesday promised no Windows Vista-style delays to the next release of Windows.

Ballmer told Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Boston: "We will never have a gap between Windows releases as long as the one between XP and Windows Vista." He went on that it was "fair" to say Vista had been a long time coming but promised customers and partners it would be an "absolutely blockbuster release." So that's alright then.®

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