Microsoft Delay May Help Apple

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Microsoftis never ending quest to delay the release of Vista, its next version of Windows, is still on track as Bill Gates announced that consumers wonit get to see the operating system until at least January of 2007. The continuing delays from Redmond may work in Appleis favor with the next version of Mac OS X, called Leopard, slated for a winter release. Although an official launch date has not been set, itis likely that Apple will roll out Mac OS X 10.5 at Macworld Expo at the beginning of January.

Delaying Windows Vista again pushes its release out past the holiday buying season, leaving most PC manufacturers without a fresh operating system to sell to consumers, and without Microsoftis big-budget marketing push. Microsoft claims this delay is to prepare security features necessary to offer better protection than Windows XP currently offers.

For some consumers, that may be too little too late. Adding the delays on top of the laundry list of promised features that have been cut from Vista may help to push some unhappy customers over to the Mac camp. The feature list that has been cut from Vista is so long, in fact, that some have taken to calling it "Windows XP Service Pack 3."

Microsoftis promised delay, which seems to be one of the few Vista-related promises the company can keep, puts Apple in a prime position to promote Leopard. The next version of the Mac operating system will be available before Vista, its feature set will extend beyond Microsoftis offerings, and it will be on time.

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