Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, prematurely posted information about its much-anticipated Windows Vista operating system on one of its websites, the company said yesterday.
Microsoft disclosed information about a plan to release eight different editions of the new operating system on a company help page that was under development. The company has not made any official statements about the different versions of Windows Vista it plans to offer.
The company has since taken down the website and declined to confirm the information and said it will offer more details about the Vista launch, targeted for the second half of 2006, in the coming weeks.
"Microsoft recently posted a web page designed to test the Windows Vista help system that included incomplete information about the Windows Vista product line up," a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement.
"This page has since been removed as it was posted prematurely and was for testing purposes only."
The five-year gap between the upcoming Vista launch and the current Windows XP marks the longest-ever gap between upgrades for Microsoft's flagship product and the company's largest cash cow.
Various media organisation saw the website before it was taken down and reported that Microsoft plans to offer six primary editions of Vista and an additional two variations for Europe that do not include Windows Media Player to comply with the European Union's past antitrust rulings.
Included in those listed offerings was Windows Starter 2007, a stripped-down version for emerging markets to offer an alternative for pirated software. There was also a basic and premium edition for the home as well as versions for both businesses and large corporations, according to the reports.
The website also listed a high-end product named Windows Vista Ultimate that targets gamers and heavy multimedia users, reports said.
Shares of Microsoft fell 26 cents to $26.44 in afternoon trade, in line with a near 1 percent decline on the Nasdaq.
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