Microsoft Corp.'s customers will never again face as long a wait between new versions of Windows software as they're enduring now, Chief Executive Steve Ballmer vowed Tuesday. Meanwhile, Chairman Bill Gates said the company's much-delayed Vista operating system is likely -- but not guaranteed -- to reach the market by January.
The comments in separate speeches by Microsoft's two top executives came nearly two weeks after the Redmond, Wash.-based company announced a postponement for its Office business software suite, and nearly four months after a similar postponement for Vista.
Product launch delays are not unusual in the software industry, but the wait has been especially long for Vista, which will incorporate features to make Windows more robust as more work is done online with greater need for security. Vista's predecessor, Windows XP, came out in October 2001, when Microsoft didn't face the challenges it now confronts from the likes of Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.