Microsoft unleashes Vista

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Microsoft unleashes Vista

Vista is finally here - at least for companies that buy Windows licenses in bulk and think Microsoft's first new operating system (OS) in five years is worth the cost.

Microsoft has released the long awaited OS after months of build-up, along with the latest version of its business suite, Microsoft Office 2007.

The Redmond, Wash. computing giant has promised stronger security with Vista, as well as a more powerful and graphically dynamic OS. Home consumers can get Vista on Jan. 30.

According to Steve Vamos Microsoft's Managing Director in Australia, Microsoft's focus points for Vista were reduced costs and improved security, speaking at a press conference is Sydney.

Tony Wilkinson, director of office business, Australia and New Zealand said a key security feature for the operating system was enhanced controlled access for the use of removable devices and theft of laptops.

"Bitlocker enables us to encrypt, lost and stolen laptops so no one can use the units," said Wilkinson. This will then "protect the information on mobile devices."

Peter Watson, chief security advisor for Microsoft Australia added: "If you don't have access to a file you will not be able to view the file. It won't even come up in the search."

Media reports questioned whether some large corporations, which already believe Windows XP to be reliable, would be willing to make the effort to install on their networks.

Ken Dunham, director of the Rapid Response Team at iDefense, told that a number of unexpected issues occur with any major product release.

"As with any new release of an operating system, we are confident that there will be the standard problems of driver updates and incompatibilities that exist for a period of time following the release," he said. "We also believe that, as is usual, some unexpected issues will arise over a period of time, once the product is deployed on a global widespread basis."

Earlier this year Microsoft chairman Bill Gates promised the OS would be less dependent on passwords, but would offer stronger and simpler-to-understand security for both home users and IT administrators.

Speaking at a press conference at the NASDAQ stock exchange in New York City, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that more than 200 million people will be using the new products by the end of the year.

"These are game changing products," he said. "It's an incredible step forward for business computing in a year of unprecedented innovation from Microsoft."

Dunham said companies shouldn't look at Vista as an immediate fix-all for their security issues.

"It's critical to view security enhancements as a process rather than an endpoint," he said. "Vista is an important development that will mature over time, as it is tested, refined and built upon."

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