Vista release date: 7 December 2006?

Rumour has it the official release date has already been decided for Windows Vista – and you can expect it to be ready in time to make an appearance late next year.

According to a report by Windows IT Pro, the official date for a full Vista release will be 7 December 2006, with the second beta of the product being released to testers late this year.The report, which claims to be based on “very recent internal Microsoft documentation”, said the first release candidate of the operating system, RC0, will appear on 19 April next year, with the second release candidate due on 28 June 2006.

Vista will then be released to manufacturing on 9 August. The first beta of Vista has already made it to testers, after making its appearance in late July. Microsoft has previously refused to put a date on the eventual arrival of Vista, né Longhorn, which has already seen its release data slip. Back in 2002, Bill Gates announced the successor to XP would be ready in 2005, while an early version of Vista first appeared in 2003.

Currently, the official line from the software behemoth is that the operating system will be seen generally in late 2006. Microsoft, however, refused to confirm or deny whether the 7 December date is correct.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said: “We expect Windows Vista to be broadly available in all channels – as retail, full-packaged product and on new PCs – in the second half of 2006.

“Our timeline is driven by the quality of the product. When we feel the product has effectively incorporated the consumer feedback we receive during the beta process, we will release the final product. At this point, we are on track for general availability of Windows Vista in the second half of 2006 or the holiday timeframe.”

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