SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) will most likely ship its upcoming Windows Vista operating system on time and meet its deadline for both corporate and retail consumers, a Wall Street analyst said on Wednesday.
Goldman Sachs analyst Rick Sherlund sent a note to clients saying that Microsoft may be ready to send the final test version of its much-anticipated Windows upgrade later this week or next week, indicating that Vista will be available for business customers in November and retail PCs by late January.
Windows Vista, already five years in the making, has been postponed by Microsoft several times and some industry analysts have speculated that the world's largest software maker will again be forced to push back its release dates.
"We had been skeptical of the launch schedule," wrote Sherlund, who has a "buy" rating on Microsoft. "But the team seems to be making great progress in addressing issues of performance, reliability and compatibility."
In the next few weeks, Microsoft may start providing coupons that PC makers can give away for a free upgrade to Vista from the current Windows XP, Sherlund said.
"This might help offset the apprehensions in the industry that the January launch of Vista (a very awkward time to release a major new product) will negatively affect PC demand in the seasonally strongest holiday quarter as consumers hold off for the new product," he wrote.
Microsoft Windows sits on more than 90 percent of the world's personal computers and the Windows business accounts for about 30 percent of the company's $44 billion in revenue.
Shares of Microsoft rose 50 cents, or 1.83 percent, to $27.87 in afternoon Nasdaq trade.