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Originally published December 23, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 23, 2006 at 7:03 PM

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Microsoft plans showy consumer intro for Vista, Office software

Microsoft is heading back to New York City to blow the lid off Windows Vista and Office 2007 again. The event planned for Jan. 29 marking the broad...

Seattle Times technology reporter

Microsoft is heading back to New York City to blow the lid off Windows Vista and Office 2007 again.

The event planned for Jan. 29 marking the broad availability of these two flagship products looks to be more lavish than the Nov. 30 launch for business customers.

"The 'Wow' starts Now" reads an invitation released to the news media late Friday. Microsoft plans a luncheon at Cipriani, a landmark banquet room on 42nd street in Manhattan and afterward there'll be a "launch celebration" at 1515 Broadway in Times Square.

For the business launch, Microsoft rang the opening bell of the Nasdaq Stock Market and CEO Steve Ballmer gave a presentation to media at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square.

The late-January consumer launch date matches what Microsoft executives have been saying for months — since the last of several delays in the development of Vista pushed its release past the holiday shopping season.

Microsoft appears to be pitching a big tent to thank those inside and outside the company who had a hand in Vista and Office 2007.

"Millions of people — Microsoft employees,developers, valued customers,bloggers, families, media,the entire industry — have come together like never before and added their own individual imprints to help make Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office system the most tested products in Microsoft history," the invitation said.

Over Chairman Bill Gates' signature another passage suggests the company's ambitions for these products: "Because of the immense personal contributions of so many, we hope you will help us celebrate a new digital lifestyle and a new era in personal computing."

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