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Magical green lights peg 25 Oct RTM for Vista

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A Microsoft campus billboard has confirmed that Vista does exist and may even ship to manufacturers later this month.

Well-connected hacks at the Seattle Times received a tip off that a "scrolling electronic reader board" at Microsoft HQ displayed the message "9 Days Until Vista RTM!!!" Do some back of the envelope math, and you've got Microsoft's latest and delayedest operating system reaching vendors on 25 October.

On the plus side for Microsoft, that date would have Vista arriving ahead of analyst expectations. Or at least the most recent – and much revised – analyst expectations.

The RTM moment is one of magic in Microsoft lore. It's the inflection point when Microsoft stops ripping out features it promised long ago and ships its less impressive operating system off to the disk and hard drive factories.

Redmond has vowed to send Vista to businesses by November and to consumers next year. It's expected that chairman Bill will unveil Vista in all its neutered grandeur to the CES crowd this January in Las Vegas.

We'll leave you with this account from Seattle's finest paper.

The message in Building 9, spelled out in green lights, alternated with trivia questions about past Windows launches.

The reader board was on a wall among a display of Vista marketing materials. In one corner, old computers running earlier versions of Windows sat atop pedestals. A fifth pedestal was empty.

Printed on the wall above were the words, "time to make history. ... "

Can you feel the excitement? ®

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