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Gates pushes new Windows, Office versions


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Gates pushes new Windows, Office versions



LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) chairman, on Tuesday made a major push to get software developers to build programs for the next versions of the company's Windows and Office computer operating systems, saying new capabilities should drive a new wave of personal computer sales.


The world's largest software maker is preparing to launch its most ambitious attempt yet to drive growth in its two largest businesses, which together make up more than $33 billion in yearly revenue.


Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft has promised to launch Windows Vista -- known by its former code-name Longhorn -- in the second half of 2006. The next version of Office is expected to launch in the same time frame.


With the longest gap ever between major Windows releases -- the current version Windows XP was launched in late 2001 -- Microsoft is facing pressure from its partners and developers to deliver technology that will convince users to upgrade.


Gates said Windows Vista will be designed to better connect and exchange data with corporate databases, find information buried in hard drives, and offer better graphics.


In a demonstration of Windows Vista, semi-transparent windows on the computer desktop allowed users to see objects underneath, including moving video, while search results are displayed in real time as queries are typed in.


Microsoft also unveiled a new interface for Microsoft Office, a collection of programs that includes word processing, spreadsheet and e-mail applications.


Microsoft has been trying to turn Office into a platform for custom-designed applications that can handle business tasks such as accounting, customer service and business planning.


"This is the most significant release of Office since Office 95," Gates said in a statement ahead of a keynote address to several thousand software developers.



09/13/05 12:09



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