Gates talks of a January '07 launch for Microsoft's next geneation operating system

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is speaking out on Windows Vista. Vista has been stricken by numerous delays and feature reductions over the years, but if Gates has his way, we'll be seeing Vista on store shelves in January of 2007.

According to Gates, there's an 80% chance that Vista will be ready in time for January although he does say that the launch could slip slightly if problems arise. "We got to get this absolutely right. If the feedback from the beta tests shows it is not ready for prime time, I'd be glad to delay it," said Gates at a presentation in Cape Town, South Africa. The Chicago Tribune reports:

He said Microsoft was investing $8 billion to $9 billion in developing Vista and the company's next version of Office, its key cash-generator. He said the company's software partners, in developing and adapting their own products for the two launches, would invest 20 times as much as Microsoft. Gates said he hoped the next version of Office would be ready in December.

It was announced just last month that Microsoft Office would be delayed again as well. That office suite was originally planned to launch in time for the holiday, but was later pushed back to launch with Vista in January 2007 and then pushed back again to a more cloudy “early 2007” launch.

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