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Microsoft Vista released for sale

Microsoft's new operating system, Windows Vista, starts its global roll-out on Thursday, being first made available to business customers.

The system, a replacement for the firm's current Windows XP operating system, will not be available to private users until 30 January. With Windows running on nine in 10 of the world's PCs, analysts agree the new version should be a big success. However, Vista is two years late and its consumer launch misses Christmas. Some analysts predict that Vista will be an immediate success, while others think it will take longer to pick up, saying that both firms and personal users will not upgrade for the sake of it. Rather, these commentators predict that most people will only start using Vista when they eventually decide to replace their current Microsoft-installed computers. What is certain, is that the success of Vista will be vital for Microsoft. Together with its Office productivity software - a new 2007 version of which is being launched alongside Vista - they account for more than 56% of Microsoft's sales. Vista has taken five years to develop. (BBC NEWS)