Microsoft Vista, Office look ready for manufacturing

San Francisco press conference presumed to announce new products

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hosted a press conference in San Francisco yesterday, presumably to announce the company has completed Vista and Office 2007.

Observers have been waiting for Microsoft to announce "release to manufacturing" of both Vista and Office, the next versions of the oft-delayed cash cows in Microsoft's software portfolio.

Release to manufacturing (RTM) means the software is done and ready to be pressed onto CDs and DVDs for delivery to customers.

In this case, the two software packages are available only to volume licensing customers. General release of the software is planned for January 2007.

On Wednesday, the company sent out invitations to press and analysts to a three-hour launch party on November 30 designed to usher in the availability of Vista, Office 2007 and Exchange 2007.

Ballmer also will host that event that will include Microsoft partners and customers, according to the invitation. The event will be held at the Nasdaq Stock Market in midtown Manhattan and the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

Ballmer will host the press conference from the JW Marriott Hotel in San Francisco.

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