Microsoft launches Windows Vista

New York (NY) - Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, chief executive officer Steve Ballmer and a "Windows Vista family" launched the new operating system Windows Vista today late afternoon in New York. Microsoft claims that represents the "biggest launch in software history."

Ending what appeared to be an infinite number of delays, Microsoft got the consumer version of Windows Vista out the gate today. Bill Gates compared the launch of Vista to the release of Windows 95 almost twelve years ago and said that "Vista will be key to its era" just like "Windows 95 was key to its era."

On the surface, of course, the computing environment of 1995 isn't comparable to 2007, as Windows 95 largely dealt with computers that were not connected to the Internet and were overwhelmed by the infant stages of multimedia. In contrast, Microsoft sees Vista as a platform for the "digital lifestyle."

Bill gates during the launch event in New York

The launch of Vista is in a dimension of itself, even if there aren't lines of people waiting for Windows Vista going on sale. Steve Ballmer claimed that the Vista launch is the biggest in software history (as was Windows 95 in 1995), stating that the software will be available in 70 countries, "thousands" of OEMs and 39,000 retail outlets around the globe. The software will be sold in 19 languages right away and will expand to 99 languages by the end of the year, Ballmer said.

Aside from new features, Microsoft mentioned the quality of Vista, and this may be the most apparent factor where the new software differs from Windows 95. While Windows 95 was plagued by driver issues, Vista comes with 31,000 certified drivers right away and Microsoft claims that 1.5 million devices are supporting Vista already. Also, according to Microsoft, there are more than 2500 software titles certified for Microsoft.

Beta testing of the software was done by five million users, and the company mentioned that a total of 60 years of performance testing went into the software as well as one billion observed Office sessions. New for Microsoft was a Vista-targeted ethnography research team that worked with 50 families around the globe that, according to the company, contributed more than 800 changes to the operating system. Highlighting its work, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer launched Vista symbolically together with a "Vista family."

Windows Vista will go on sale in the U.S. tomorrow.

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