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Microsoft's Vista slides out of view

Sales in the PC hardware market may suffer this Christmas, as Microsoft confirms yet another delay to the launch of its new operating system, Windows Vista.

Sales in the PC hardware market may suffer this Christmas, as Microsoft confirms yet another delay to the launch of its new operating system, Windows Vista.

After numerous setbacks and a removal of various operational functions to ensure the latest launch deadline was adhered to, the Redmond giant has had to admit that it will be unable to launch Vista in November as planned.

According to technology website CNET.com, Windows chief Jim Allchin confirmed the delayed launch during a telephone conference call with reporters and analysts, stating: "We needed just a few more weeks, and that put us in a bubble... Where some partners would be impacted more than others."

The company still plans to finalise development of the operating system - which has already been in development for several years - by the end of 2006, and will utilise the additional time to resolve any remaining usability issues and ensure that security for the system is as high as possible. "We're trying to do the responsible thing here," Allchin commented.

Security for the new operating system is of paramount importance for Microsoft, as the company has partially attributed its various delays to the extensive time and effort put into the creation and testing of Windows XP Service Pack 2, which was released to correct major security issues with the XP operating system.

Microsoft does not expect the delay to affect the overall PC sales, but admits that its PC manufacturing and retail partners may view the proposed January 2007 launch rather differently. "There's no [change] to the PC forecast from our perspective. You can ask the partners what they think," he stated.

According to Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD Techworld, retail PC vendors are likely to suffer the greatest impact, suggesting that sales expectations for the fourth quarter were high, on the basis of the new operating system being launched in November.

In terms of PC software sales, the only gaming title currently announced as an exclusive for the new platform is Bungie's Halo 2, although the title was never given an official release date. Microsoft had also planned a major marketing push for Vista to coincide with the launch of Office 2007, which is due for release in the second half of the year.

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