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Microsoft today provided the most concrete evidence to date that it will actually ship Windows Vista. It released pricing for the operating system on its Canadian web site by mistake.

According to Microsoft's own site, the Home Basic version of Vista will ship at the same price as Windows XP Home edition – US$233. Customers will then have to pay extra - $269 - for the Home Premium version of Vista that works with Media Center and Tablet PC systems.

Business customers can expect to see a price break with the new OS. Microsoft has priced Vista Business at $341 versus $386 for XP Professional. The super duper Vista Ultimate which has Media Center tools along with the Aero 3D GUI and extra security technology will cost a whopping $449.

Of course, few people will end up paying the retail prices for Microsoft's upcoming OS. The discounted price of Windows is hidden within the cost of most computers.

Customers have been waiting more than five years for a fresh issue of Windows and are praying that Vista will be a more secure, efficient OS than XP.

Microsoft pulled the leaked prices quickly but, in an unusual embrace of reality, confirmed their existence to the press.

Vista is supposedly meant to ship sometime next year.

You can scope the pricing lists here. ®

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