"Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates said Tuesday there was an 80 percent chance the company's next-generation operating system, Windows Vista, would be ready in January.
The Vista software has been subject to a number of delays. Beta users of software test products before their full commercial release in an effort to uncover problems.
"We got to get this absolutely right," Gates said. "If the feedback from the beta tests shows it is not ready for prime time, I'd be glad to delay it."
He said Microsoft was investing $8 billion to $9 billion in developing Vista and the company's next version of Office, its key cash-generator. He said the company's software partners, in developing and adapting their own products for the two launches, would invest 20 times as much as Microsoft.
Gates said he hoped the next version of Office would be ready in December.