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Microsoft delays launch of Windows Vista

Microsoft said on Tuesday it plans to delay the 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.

According to Reuters, Microsoft plans to launch a product for corporate customers in November and then roll out Windows Vista for consumers after the holiday shopping season.

January 2007 is about the same time Apple Computer
has said
its next-generation Mac OS X 10.5 \"Leopard\" operating system would be released to the public. The tight-lipped company has so far kept all of Leopard\'s details under wraps.

Reuters reports that Microsoft said Vista is delayed because the company wants to improve overall quality, particularly in security. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant also said 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.

Microsoft is reportedly 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, Reuters said. \"Unlike the current Windows XP, there will be no versions designed specifically for advanced 64-bit computing, multimedia computers or Tablet PCs.\"

Shares of Microsoft 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.