Microsoft, the American software group headed by Bill Gates, will release its Windows Vista and Office 2007 products to business users today, after a two-year delay. The software, which has been developed at an estimated cost of $7 billion (£3.6 billion), is the first update of the Windows operating system since 2001. The consumer version of Vista is expected to be released in January and, like its business counterpart, will include improved features in areas such as security and searching. Analysts have suggested that Office 2007 could prove to be the more important product for Microsoft. The software suite will compete with rival web-based systems such as Google’s word-processor and spreadsheet utilities.
Together, Windows and Office account for the lion’s share of Microsoft profits, but Microsoft has suggested that the new products’ initial contributions to revenue growth will be modest. The company expects revenues for 2007 to grow at between 13 and 15 per cent year-on-year, compared with the 11 per cent increase in 2006. Well may be the revenues will not grow so fast, as there are fully working pirated versions of Windows Vista floating on the net for more than week .