[news=http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/21/news/companies/microsoft.reut/microsoft_windows_vista.03.jpg]Microsoft to delay launch of Windows Vista
The first overhaul of Windows in five years is due out in the beginning of 2007; system quality, security concerns slow release.
March 21, 2006: 6:26 PM EST
SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. said on Tuesday it plans to delay the consumer launch of its much-anticipated Windows Vista operating system to January 2007 from its earlier target of the second half of 2006, sending its shares down nearly 3 percent.
Microsoft plans to launch a product for corporate customers in November and then roll out Windows Vista for consumers after the holiday shopping season, Jim Allchin, co-president of the company's Platforms & Services Division, said on a conference call.
Vista is the first major overhaul of Windows since Microsoft rolled out Windows XP nearly five years ago.
Microsoft said Vista is delayed because it wants to improve overall quality, particularly in security, and that PC makers didn't want the operating system introduced in the middle of holiday sales, because a new version would create instability in the market.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is planning six core offerings of the Vista operating system, targeting how people use computers instead of PC hardware specifications.
Three will be aimed at consumers, two at business users, and a stripped-down version for emerging markets. Unlike the current Windows XP, there will be no versions designed specifically for advanced 64-bit computing, multimedia computers or Tablet PCs.
Windows, which is found in about 90 percent of all computer desktops, is one of Microsoft's biggest cash cows.
Shares of Microsoft (Research) fell 2.6 percent to $27.02 in extended trade. In regular Nasdaq trade, the stock fell 15 cents, or less than 1 percent, to close at $27.74.