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Gates Touts Vista to Shareholders

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates told shareholders Tuesday that Windows Vista could be the company's biggest product launch since Windows 95 debuted more than a decade ago.

Vista, the latest version of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows operating system, is due out to consumers in January after many delays. The system promises better security, updated graphics and improved ways for finding documents, pictures and other data stored on computers.

It will be the first major upgrade for Windows, the operating system that powers most personal computers, since Windows XP was launched more than five years ago. Microsoft has sought to assure investors and users that it doesn't intend to wait this long before releasing the next version of Windows.

Windows 95, which also suffered from delays, was released amid a roar of publicity in the summer of 1995. It offered a host of new user-friendly options aimed at making computing easier for non-tech savvy people.