Gates: 80 percent chance of Vista in January

Microsoft chairman tells software partners a delay is possible if beta testing yields problems.

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While Microsoft officially ceased support today for its last-generation Windows 98 operating system, its next-gen, gamer-friendly Vista OS is not yet ready to go. According to Market Watch, during a presentation today to software partners in Cape Town, South Africa, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said there was an 80 percent chance the company would launch Vista in January.

"We got to get this absolutely right," Market Watch quotes Gates. "If the feedback from the beta tests shows it is not ready for prime time, I'd be glad to delay it."

Microsoft previously delayed the release of Vista from its planned 2006 launch in March to the current January date, saying the developers "needed just a few more weeks." Some of the operating system's planned features were actually cut in order to help meet that 2006 release date.

Any delay in the release of Vista would also impact gamers. At the D.I.C.E. Summit in February, Peter Moore, head of Microsoft's gaming division, apologized for the company's "dereliction of duty" when it came to PC games and emphasized how the Vista platform would benefit PC gamers. One of the higher-profile Vista titles set for release is the PC edition of Halo 2, which will run only on the Vista OS.

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