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Microsoft’s Vista is finally in sight

The software giant's new operating system is expected to be available in the Gulf on Wednesday.

Microsoft today announced the launch of its Windows Vista Operating system, saying that the landmark product would be available in more than 70 countries - including those in the Gulf - from Wednesday.

While the product was originally scheduled to ship in the second half of 2006, it was previously reported that it may not be available in the Gulf region until mid-February.

Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 will be available online and in more than 39,000 retail stores worldwide from Wednesday, according to a statement by the software giant.

Computer stores across the world are planning to stay open until past midnight on January 30 so that eager users can purchase the product, the first major version of the Windows operating system launched in over five years.

"Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 will transform the way people work and play," said Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, in a statement. "Personal computers have become a key part of the daily lives of almost a billion people worldwide. Millions of consumers had a hand in helping us design, test and create the most exciting versions of Windows and Office we have ever released. Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 squarely address the needs and aspirations of people around the globe."

"Consumers across the region will start to see Windows Vista and Office 2007 from January 31," said Adriana Rangel, Windows Client Business Lead, Microsoft Gulf. "Microsoft Gulf Channel Partners will be the first in the region to offer consumers the chance to experience the best of personal computing. The launch celebration events - a milestone we intend to commemorate in style - will start on February 15, with a focus on academic events, mall promotions and much more."