Microsoft finally completed work on its Vista client OS (operating system) yesterday, and plans to release the code to corporate users this month.
The 'release to manufacturing' was announced by Jim Allchin, co-president of the platforms and services division at Microsoft.
"This is a good day," said Allchin yesterday afternoon. "We signed off on Vista less than an hour ago. Vista is rock-solid and ready to ship."
Microsoft says the next steps are to release the software officially at the end of November to volume-licensing customers, with the consumer versions due on 30 January 2007.
Vista has been in development for more than five years and has endured a number of delays, setbacks and feature cuts.
But Allchin gushed about the new OS, thanking all those who tested it and provided feedback. He said hardware and application compatibility with Vista represents an all-time high for any release of a Microsoft OS.
"I can't stress how proud I am of this release," he said. "My hope is that this OS will be remembered for the huge progress we have made in terms of quality and security, in particular."
Allchin went on to detail performance, reliability and security features that he said makes Vista stand out. In terms of performance, Allchin mentioned Super Fetch, Ready Boost and Ready Drive. In terms of reliability, he said Vista has gone through 16 technology previews since Beta 1.0 shipped in August 2005. He also said more than 60,000 PCs inside Microsoft are already running Vista.